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The Tashkent workshop 2005

From 11 to 15 April 2005, in Tashkent , Uzbekistan , an “International Workshop on Revival and Promotion of Sericultural Industries and Small Enterprise Development in the Black, Caspian Seas and Central Asia Region” was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in collaboration with the Government of Republic of Uzbekistan, Association “Uzbek Ipagi”, Uzbek Sericulture Research Institute. The meeting aimed at connecting people together between agricultural/industrial producers and traders, businessmen, administrators, scientists, experts, developers working in each step or link of production and trade chains for silk and silk commodities, from land to mulberry leaf to cocoons to raw silk to silk yarns/fabrics and to final silk products.

The main purpose of the workshop was to provide an opportunity to sit together around a round table to discuss common challenges and opportunities, problems and prospects, while creating environments among participating countries as cooperating partners for mutual benefits but no longer as competing rivals in the region; reviewing retrospectively causes and effects - “what went wrong during the last 15 years?” “how to fix it right next?”; working together in sensitizing and attracting attention from respective Governments, International Organizations and NGOs and seeking for policy and financial supports; sharing experiences and scientific knowledge, practical technologies and markets in the Region; complementing demand and supply for various sericultural resources within the Region; and also reaching out to other regions of the world in search of opportunities for technology transfer to and from, resources and information exchange, trade/enterprise development and catching up with recent trends of consumer tastes, and lots more.

This workshop identified major constraints which might had caused today's critical situation and recommended immediate follow-up activities which would be required for trouble shooting and also to produce executable long-term development strategies, while laying the ground work for restoration and further progress of sericultural industries in the Region.

12 countries, i.e. Azerbaijan , Bulgaria , Egypt , Georgia , Greece , Japan , Kazakhstan , Republic of Korea , Tajikistan , Turkey , Ukraine and Uzbekistan took part in the forum. The workshop participants concluded that:

  • Recognition of cultural and economic values of sericulture is renewed, as one of promising agricultural industries for rural development and subsequently contributing to the national/regional economic growth.
  • Regional statistics confirm that before the last 15 years of devastating period, approximately one million households were involved in mulberry cultivation and cocoon production, and about 5 million people were engaged in the cocoon and silk processing industries and trading business.
  • Present status is common in that the sericultural activities have been declined to the serious level, in most of participating countries, mainly due to time-gap lapsed while adjusting management styles and business relations to new prevailing environments in and outside the region during the transition period from one social/economic system to another, therefore it is considered rather unique characteristics to the Region.
  • However, the region still maintains fairly well all of sericultural backgrounds and most of infrastructure, technical feasibility and economic viability, along with strong signs of returning of policy and donor supports and producer/consumer interests in all links of production and trade cycles.
  • Major constraints were identified in production technology, supporting policy, attracting development funds, developing markets and enterprises, and others.
  • Calls and strategic plans for external assistance are to be made out to international organizations such as UNDP, FAO, IFAD, EU, NGOs, etc., along with recommendations to follow-up. After a successful implementation of sericulture revival projects the fresh cocoon production in the region could reach 80 – 100,000 t /year, raw silk production, 10,000 – 12,000 t /year respectively and about more than 2 million farmer's households will get income from sericulture in the effective year 2010. T he high grade raw silk production in this region will be able to completely meet the needs of European Union silk industry and to break their dependence from Chinese import.

At the workshop a common institution was created to facilitate and expedite regional collaboration, in an effort to realize the recommendations to be made through this workshop. The institution was named as The Black, Caspian Seas and Central Asia Silk Association (BACSA) . Main structure, basic functions and workplan were also prepared. Some more countries would join the already created BACSA which should be open to all individuals/institutes/countries which are willing to share common goals in industrial and economic growth through sericulture.

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