Is Wild Silk Africa’s best kept secret?

When I tell people that Ethnic Supplies stocks fashion accessories made from wild silk one of the questions I get asked without fail is that

Is there enough for commercial purposes?

And the answer yes there is, in Madagascar. The best part is that there is a whole conservation project underway to protect Madagascar’s natural heritage.

Tapia, or Uapaca Bojeri, is the staple food of the wild Malagasy silkworm, called Landibe (borocera madagascariensis). Both tapia and landibe are only found in Madagascar.

The tapia forests are the last remnants of highland primary forest, which are threatened by human destruction through bush fires, firewood collection and charcoal production.  The tapia forest is home to a great wealth of products in addition to silkworms, used by the local population; including fruit, medicinal plants, mushrooms and plant dyes.

As the community depends on this forest heavily a project was started to conserve the forests but also ensure that the communities do not lose their way of life

Ny Tanintsika’s project was set up to revitalize the silk industry in the Amoron’i Mania, south central region of Madagascar with the aim of increasing wild silk production while conserving the tapia forests. The projects benefits the poorest within the community especially the women who are involved in silk product.

The village artisans are supported through all the stages of silk production and its transformation into different products, right through to marketing support and sales and a annual target to replant the tapia is set for each village

In the next thread I will tell you about the significance of silk in Malagasy life

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