A consortium formed by two humanitarian
organizations, the Oromia Regional Government and
two of the higher institutions in the region, is to
set up a mega sericulture and silk factory in
Wolliso town of Southwest Shewa Zone of the Oromia
The factory ,with the potential to produce 164,250Kg
of silk per annum, will be established on a
10,000Sqm plot of land. On the first year of
production, the factory will operate at 60pc of its
The promoter and Coordinating Director of the
project, Joseph Mateka, gave a presentation on the
ambitious plan for the establishment of the factory,
as well a road map for sericulture technology
development and production of castor oil and
Injifano Agro-bio-diesel industry, last Friday, May
8, 2009, at Addis Abeba Hilton.
Although the investment capital is six million
dollars, the employment opportunities it would
create would be significant; as much as 5,000 people
would get jobs, according to Joseph Mateka.
Members of the consortium are, Jose Humanitarian
Foundation - an NGO in Ethiopia, Axis International
Plc - a UK based private establishment that
financially supports such projects, the Oromia
Regional Government, Adama University and Asala
School of Agriculture.
The road map is designed to marry educational
packages from the two education institutions by
connecting them to communities who are going to rear
cocoons, sell the silk to the factory, collect
castor seeds and sell them back to the bio-fuel or
bio-diesel industry, along with an export
possibility, Joseph said.
The plantation of the sericulture will cover about
1,722hct of the land under castor plant and produce
about 551,000Kg of cocoon in the first year of the
five-year program. This will result in 16.53 million
Br total value of output. The output will serve as a
substitute product for the country’s import.
Besides, the implementation of both the sericulture
and the manufacturing has a great role in employment
creation and income generation for the community
living around Wolliso, Mohammednur Abachabsa, head
of the Office of the Oromia Regional State President
and the Regional Council, told Fortune.
As far as there is no limitation of inputs from the
raw materials, electricity, silkworm and labour
force, there will not be any inconsistency and
breakdown both of the community and the factory, he
After the training students, who had graduated from
Adama University and Asala School of Agriculture
will be deployed to train the community and raise
awareness on the new product.
A sericulture scheme production can offer triple
income generating opportunities to rural people by
selling cocoon, seeds and leaves from castor plants,
according to a research conducted by Jose
The Foundation will be in charge of putting
infrastructures and machineries in place, and
linking technical knowledge with innovative ideas,
whereas Axis International Plc will look over the
financing and designing of the project. On the other
hand, the government of Oromia regional state
devolves a huge labour force and offers the land
freely for the implementation of the industrial
unit, Mohammednur explained.
Economically, the project will develop and prove the
commercial viability of silk production, bio-diesel
and bio-fuel production in small, medium and
large-scale rural contexts, according to Joseph.
The project will also provide new 100pc renewable
energy source for rural society relying on fuel wood
and there will be less harm to humans and the
environment since the bio-fuel is non-toxic and
biodegradable, Joseph explained.