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Call for Resumption of Silkworm Project by Parliamentary Committee

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The House Committee on Science, Technology, and Innovation recently directed Dr. Monica Musenero, the Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, to reinstate a sericulture project funded by the government. Sericulture, the practice of cultivating silkworms for silk production, is anticipated to surpass coffee as a primary source of foreign exchange, as per Musenero’s projections.

However, the minister informed the committee that the project had been halted due to contractual challenges with the project lead. Musenero cited the poor design and implementation complexity of the memorandum of understanding, which led to ambiguity and hindered the project’s progress, as advised by the Attorney General.

Members of Parliament expressed concern over the significant government investment in the project and urged the minister to resolve the issues and resume the initiative. Yona Musinguzi, representing Ntungamo Municipality, questioned the swift termination of the memorandum, highlighting existing infrastructure and resources invested in sericulture.

Janet Okori-Moe, Abim District Woman MP and chairperson of the agriculture committee, emphasized the potential economic benefits of silk production if proper coordination, legislation, and dedication are ensured. She underscored Uganda’s conducive climate for mulberry trees, the primary food source for silkworms, and noted the positive revenue generated from silk exports.

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During a conference on Science, Technology, and Innovation, held at the Kampala Serena Hotel, MPs engaged with the minister and her team. James Kubeketerya from Bunya County East raised queries about the utilization of the allocated funds for sericulture in the 2023/2024 Financial Year, given the project’s suspension.

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Additionally, MPs sought clarification regarding Uganda’s first satellite, PearlAfricaSat-1, launched in 2022. Concerns were raised about the project’s value for money, especially considering the significant investment made by the government. Musenero assured the committee of providing details on the satellite’s data collection and confirmed plans for a new satellite with an extended lifespan.

Furthermore, Musenero informed MPs about ongoing efforts to modernize traditional medicines through clinical trials targeting respiratory ailments, diabetes, malaria, and cancer treatments. Three clinical trials have been completed, with plans for additional trials underway, she disclosed.

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