Thursday, November 04, 2010

High silk prices concern craftsmen

In my humble opinion, Cambodian silk is some of the best in the world. It would be wonderful to invest in silk production so that the cost of materials could be reduced and the reliance on foreign silk could be decreased as well.

So much of the silk sold in the marketplace to tourists is labeled as Cambodian, yet if the silk thread is bought elsewhere, does that still make it Cambodian? Worse yet is when the Vietnamese or Thai finished silk products are sold as Cambodian.

Thursday, 04 November 2010
By Chun Sophal

HANDICRAFT makers called for increased domestic production of raw silk yesterday, as the price of thread imports continued to rise last month.

“When we are confronting growing prices, we have no options because there is little silk production in Cambodia,” said Men Sineurn, executive director for the Cambodian Craftsman Association. Locally produced raw silk meets only 1 percent of market demand from the 20,000 Cambodians workers who are employed through using the material.

Silk thread sold for US$41 per kilogram in the opening days of November, up 2.5 percent from $40 in October, according to Kae Muny, secretary general of the Khmer Silk Village Association.

Between 300 and 400 tonnes of silk is required annually to meet the Kingdom’s demand. Some 70 percent of goods made with silk are sold on domestic markets; the remainder is exported.

“It will take a long time to produce silk in our country,” said Kae Muny. Silk production was still largely done at the household level, and there was no large-scale investment in the field, he said.

Some 500 families have planted mulberry trees in Banteay Meanchey province’s Phnom Srok district, and Siem Reap’s Srey Snom district, but they only produce up to 4 tonnes per year. Silk thread cost $37 per kilogram six months ago, and $27 per kilogram a year and a half ago.

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