The silk industry is characterized by various activities such as silkworm egg production, cocoon production, reeling operation, weaving and made-up goods manufacturing. In the Philippines, these phases of production and manufacturing are done by both the government and the private sector.
Government institutions like PTRI and SRDI are involved in the production and multiplication of silkworm eggs of multivoltine and bivoltine strains.
These government agencies are also involved in the hatching of silkworm eggs and rearing of silkworms up to the third instar (an active period of growth during the larval stage occurring after the second molting and which lasts for 3-4 days) before these are farmed out to cocoon producers.
Cocoon production is done by either individual farmers or by farmers’ groups who tend the mulberry farms, mulberry leaves being the sole food of the silkworm. At present, there are about 268 farmers in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao engaged in this endeavor.
With the closure of Ang Puno Silk, Inc. (APSI) in July 1997, commercial raw silk production is now undertaken mostly by the Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA), a non-government organization (NGO), in its filature plant in Bago City, Negros Occidental. Small-scale production of silk yarn is also undertaken by the Kapangan Ecological Livelihood Multi-Purpose Cooperative (KELMPC) in Benguet. Government institutions like PTRI also produce raw silk/yarns when there are requests from weavers to reel for them while SRDI has its own production of yarns for its handloom weaving of silk fabrics. These two institutions, however, are basically involved in research and development.
Raw silk/silk yarns are woven into fabrics either in pure or in blended form. While some powerloom and handloom weavers engaged in silk fabric production have ceased operating due to some constraints, there are still a number of handloom weavers in Iloilo, Aklan, Misamis Oriental and Palawan involved in this undertaking.
The made-up goods manufacturing sector is more organized and equipped in terms of facilities and market network than the rest. Almost all of the materials used by this sector, however, are imported while most of their manufactured goods are bound for the export market practically making the Philippines just an assembly point.
Another sector is the cocooncraft makers in the Ilocos region. These processors utilize low grade and waste cocoons and convert them into home decors and novelty items.