Sericulture is farming to make silk fibers, and it’s the only way to get silk, so the question really is: What’s the importance of silk?
Mary Schoeser and Yale University Press have graciously allowed Google Books to show a preview of the book Silk. (It’s also available on Amazon, used, at reasonable cost.) It has many photographs, and is not difficult to read. According to Schoeser:
“Yet not one of these new fibers has, on its own, duplicated the breath of applications that silk can embrace. In addition, none of the synthetics are biodegradable. Finally, among all the processes used for producing fibers–natural or engineered–sericulture produces the least pollution.”
Four people have reviewed this book, giving it top rating. I have to say I think the author is a little biased and uncritical about a subject she clearly loves, and I’m more than a little suspicious about claims that silk can do more than any other fabric. But that all said, you could learn a heck of a lot about silk in a quarter of an hour, just reading this link:
Aside from silk itself, we can also discuss the livelihoods that depend on sericulture. The world’s largest global producer of silk is China, where 1 million people are employed by sericulture industries. 700,000 families rely on sericulture in India (though the FAO reports 8 million). Uzbekistan, Brazil, and Vietnam are the next chief producers out of the 35-40 silk-producing countries.
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