News & events


Sericulture adoption as an income-enhancing rural innovation:

26 April 2016
12:30 - 13:30

Lessons for South Africa from Rwanda

Dr Alexis Habiyaremye
Economic Performance and Development (EPD), HSRC

Professor Patricia McFadden
International Advisory Board of the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI), UNISA.

Date:     26 April 2016        Time:     12:30 to 13:30

Venues in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town

Download presentations below:

Since the year 2005, the government of Rwanda, in partnership with an Indian textile producer, has introduced sericulture as an innovative means to more profitably use the limited land resources and generate new income sources for rural farmers. The project to plant 10 thousand hectares of mulberry trees to support the sericulture has been integrated in the nation’s economic development and poverty reduction strategy (EDPRS). Silk being a high value product that can be easily produced on otherwise less productive hill slopes, high expectations were placed on this new form of land use to help lift entire communities out of poverty.

In south Africa efforts to develop the wild silk industry have also been undertaken and actively supported by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). This study aims to assess the impact of sericulture adoption as a rural innovation aimed to enhance farmers’ income and reduce poverty among adopting Rwandan farmers, and draws lessons for other countries such as South Africa, that also want to uses silk production to generate an alternative source of income in rural areas. Using the propensity score matching (PSM) methodology, we show that the introduction of sericulture has had some poverty reduction effects. The income generation effects have remained relatively low, however, because of an inadequate support system. For the South African effort to develop the wild silk industry to succeed, it is important to draw lessons from this Rwandan experience.

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.

RSVP by 24 April 2016
Cape Town : HSRC, 12th Floor, Plein Park Building (Opposite Revenue Office), Plein Street, Cape Town. Contact Carmen August, Tel (021) 466 7827, Fax (021) 461 0299, or ;

Durban :  The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001 , Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or , or Hlengiwe Zulu at e-mail

Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria.,