24 February 2024

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Amid obstructions, TRIDI’s sericulture project on course 

Even when Parliament appropriated Uganda shillings 43 billion to ensure the commercial production of silk, the money is yet to be released, TRIDI executive director, said.
TRIDI

Clet Wandui Masiga [M] is the Executive Director and sericulture project principal investigator at Tropical Institute of Development Innovations (TRIDI) addressing the media on project update.

Last Updated on: 21st October 2022, 02:59 pm

TRIDI invested in the business Uganda shillings 800 billion. After five years, they started pumping into the economy shillings 2,880 billion annually.


By Milton Emmy Akwam

Mukono – October 20, 2022: Uganda is quickly taking up innovations with a number of them taking shapes. Innovators are mainly private players who would later work in collaboration with the government or other partners. 

One of the innovators of current Uganda is Clet Wandui Masiga, the executive director and sericulture project principal investigator at the Tropical Institute of Development Innovations (TRIDI).

Wandui, with his colleagues, founded TRIDI to commercialize sericulture technologies and innovations for household wealth creation and employment generation in Uganda.

Alongside the government of Uganda, the journey to invest in silk is “a long one,” according to Wandui.

He added that silk was formally recognized in the textile policy that came into force in January 2010. “The textile policy emphasizes that silk is another fibre produced in few districts of the country, mainly in the Western and Central regions of the Country. If the silk sub-sector is developed, there is potential to spur village level processing especially the cottage industry which would offer income opportunities for women and youth,” says the project principal investigator.

On Wednesday, October 19, 2022, he said that the sericulture, silk industry and silk by-products industry are contributing to the implementation of National Development Plan [NDPIII] programmes on the Innovation, Technology Development and Transfer Programme.

Other areas also include Manufacturing, Agro-industrialization, and Natural resources; Environment, Climate change, and Land and Water management. 

TRIDI
A silk factory in Sheema Municipality.

To date, 1300 people are employed in the sericulture project across the country and as expected by TRIDI executive director, 300,000 jobs will be created from 56 silk factories to be established.

The project is to be implemented in 50 districts. Currently, it is being implemented in 24 districts of Sheema, Kiruhura, Bulambuli, Kamuli, Mubende, Mukono, Iganga, Luweero, Kayunga, Nakaseke, Kween, Bukedea, Zombo, Nwoya, Buikwe, Pallisa, Busia, Amolatar, Otuke, Lira, Agago and Pader.

In Luweero, Mubende, Kayunga, Nakaseke, Kween, Buikwe, Agago, and Pader,  farmers demanded that they are provided with skills and input.

On station is in Mukono, Sheema, Kiruhura, Bulambuli, Kamuli, Mubende, Iganga, Bukedea, Zombo, Nwoya, Pallisa, Busia, Amorator, Otuke, and Lira.   

 

tridi
A silk factory in Kween District.

In addition to 1,300 jobs created already, the project has registered great achievements like the establishment of mulberry gardens, the construction of two factories, installed state-of-the-art silk processing machines and equipment and built rearing houses.


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In the financial year 2021/2022, 682 acres of land with mulberry was created, bringing to a total of mulberry established and managed to 2,230 acres. The project continued to manage 1,548 acres that were established and managed in the financial year 2020/2021 and 683 acres in 2019/2020.

Of the total acreage that financial year, 136 acres were under TRIDI and 502 acres of individual farmers.

As revealed by the expert, the acreage, if properly managed and utilized will bring into our economy Uganda shillings 4 billion in leaves, Uganda shillings 8 billion in cocoons, and Uganda shilling 20 billion in the sale of silk yarn. 

The country will also get Uganda shillings 40 billion in silk fabric in this financial year alone. This is on top of creating at least 5000 jobs for Ugandans. 

Challenges 

In the last fiscal year of 2021/22, Clet Wandui termed it “very challenging due to transition from former Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations (MOSTI) to Science, Technology and Innovations Office of the President (STI-OP)”. “Some of our staff (five) passed on due to challenges related to the delayed release of funds,” he revealed.

This financial year of 2022/2023, he said they have had three more deaths due to delayed release of funds. “And another death has just occurred and we found the body after a number of days. The death has mainly occurred because they could not access money for medical care as a result of delayed release of funds…”

Even when Parliament appropriated Uganda shillings 43 billion to ensure the commercial production of silk, the money is yet to be released. TRIDI boss told media that the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development made available the funds but up to now “we have not received any funding”. 

He is blaming the delay on Minister Dr Monica Musenero whom he said has to be proactive, adding that the delay to release the funds is causing economic waste of investment and denying Ugandans jobs both at technical and non-technical levels. 

“Our estimated losses shall be Uganda shillings 73 billion should we not receive the funds in a timely manner this financial year alone.”

“In developing the idea of investing in sericulture, silk and silk by-product industry we knew that setting up such a business and grow it will require us remaining focused on ensuring that we shall deliver the goods and services that Ugandans and global community are prepared to pay for, and in the process create the jobs that would allow people to buy other goods and services and hence contribute to economic development of Uganda,” Clet reiterated.

Borrowing a leaf for success 

At TRIDI, the executive director says they continue to recognize that if you want to understand the causes of American and European prosperity, study the policies of those who created it, not the advice of their forgetful successors. 

“We had many views and we continued to explain to our stakeholders to understand the foundation for which we exist and the mission we are pursuing and why H.E. General Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni founded the Innovation Fund/ National Research & Innovation Programme (NRIF) Framework and or his pledge to support scientists to commercialize their Innovations. 

By the time the budget process was concluded for the financial year 2022/2023, TRIDI had planted mulberry on more than 1500 acres, and two factories that process the silk cocoons into yarn were also under installation. 

After appropriation, they entered into contractual obligations to use next-generation technologies for them to have global industrial competitiveness that combines their innovations and foreign technology. 

“Before the year ended, Parliament understood our direction of thinking and appropriated us funds which made us abandon the idea of mobilizing funds from investors, grants from development organizations, and loan. We still need stable funding to be able to meet our objective. This sustainable funding is needed in order to avoid either interruption or loss of already invested resources.”

Investments 

TRIDI invested in the business Uganda shillings 800 billion. After five years, they started pumping into the economy shillings 2,880 billion annually. Of these, Uganda shillings 728 billion are to remain in the hands of Ugandan farmers and or rural communities. 

Musamali Jorum, an internal auditor at TRIDI told TND News that when they bought land in Lira for the sericulture project, it was cultivated. “But because there has been a delay in the release of funds, we cannot have any activity on that land.”

tridi
Musamali Jorum in an interview with TND News on Wednesday.

At Kyabakadde village, Kyampisi sub-county in Mukono where 25 acres of mulberry are being grown, he said the plants of 2019 will take six years to mature before harvesting the leaves. 

Up next, an exclusive interview with Clet on Dr Monica Musonero, Lira project, and more.

1 thought on “Amid obstructions, TRIDI’s sericulture project on course 

  1. We pray that the money is released, people have families and school going children. You know sometimes when someone is enjoying a good life, they don’t know what other people that don’t have are going through. People are sleeping hungry out there, just think about the common man(especially those working as casual workers).

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