In the 69th year of Republic of China, the sericulture (silk industry) was once at its peak. The area of planting mulberry expanded to 2,737 hectares (equivalent to 5,115 football fields!) and the annual production of raw silk was as high as 1,824,499 kg, the highest peak in history.
With the rapid development of Taiwan's economy, the rapid outflow of rural labor, skyrocketing wages and the reduction or cancellation of import tariffs on silk raw materials by the government in order to join the world trade organization, a large number of cheap products from developing countries and regions were imported, and the export of silkworm in Taiwan was not as competitive as the mainland China was.
By 1992, the government had to bail out silkworm farmers as the overhead costs in production was too high.
“Silk is a valuable product loaded with history and cultural memory, and we should try to hold on to the industry, given that the government invested tremendous resources in it in the past,” Tu ( a local silk farmer) said.
Rearing silkworms are not easy. The average time between a silkworm being born and starting to produce silk is about 25 - 28 days, during which time the silkworm feeds on mulberry leaves for growth. It also consists of a series of other tasks such as harvesting enough mulberry leaves, supplying and transporting the mulberry leaves, cleaning the rearing beds and mounting the larvae for cocoons spin and collecting and shipping the cocoons.
Although rearing of silkworms may sound like an intensive and laborious task, the sericulture industry was once part of Taiwan's history and culture. Silkworm farms also serve as a means to raise ecological awareness.
Fully aware of the benefits of silk fibroin on humans, Dr. Amber Chen, the founder of 5S3C worked with Quanming Silkworm Eco-Education Farm in Miaoli Shitan to select silk as the raw material in medical equipment and skincare to preserve the only remaining traditional industry in Taiwan. It is also with the purpose of using natural and sustainable material to provide long-lasting care for people and the environment.
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