At the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology Institute icipe in Nairobi, research is undertaken into opportunities for the commercial yet sustainable and environmentally friendly use of insects. It has been shown that climatic conditions in West Kenya are suited to the breeding of silk worms, since the area is ideal for the integrated cultivation of mulberry trees – the main food source for silk worms.
In an icipe pilot project, women’s groups were trained in the breeding of silk worms, maintenance of the cocoons as well as the mechanical preparation of silk and workings of the loom. A violent storm and the political unrest following the presidential election at the beginning of 2008 brought the project to temporary standstill. The work of the project will be taken up again in 2009 with short-term aid from Biovision. A storm-resistant building is to be built for the silk centre and production of quality silk in Rachuonyo will continue.