Women reviving silkworm farming expect support

After breeding, rearing, and harvesting silkworms, Sevda Eren sells silk to earn a living. “The state should support us to make our labor visible,” she says.


Amed – 60% of the silkworm production in Turkey occurs in the Kulp district of Amed (Diyarbakır). The silkworm producers in the district begin to breed silkworms in the beginning of spring. Since most of the silkworms died within the cocoon last year, the silkworm producers expect support this year. Now, the silkworms are taking their fourth sleep in the district and the silkworms will change into after spinning their cocoons on the 10th day of their sleep and then they will be sold.

While the silk produced in the district meets 10 percent of Turkey's needs, silkworms are a source of livelihood for the people of the district. Most silkworm producers are women in the district. Once the silkworms have spun their cocoon, they will eventually enclose themselves inside it and then it is time to extract the silk threads. The silkworms are killed by placing the cocoons into boiling water in order to soften and dissolve the gum that is holding the cocoon together. Thus, silk is produced.

Cocoons will be collected 10 days later

The production of silk takes a month. In the district, the silkworm producers begin to collect cocoons in the beginning of June and sell them. Sevda Eren has worked as a silkworm producer in the district for 18 years. Stating that they breed the silkworms with mulberry leaves, Sevda Eren said that her silkworms are taking their last sleep. “In the district, most people make a living from silk farming,” she added.

“We don’t get our money right away as we used to”

Stating that they begin to work hard on the 10th day of the silkworms’ fourth sleep, Sevda Eren said, “After their last sleep, we do everything necessary to turn them into cocoons and collect them. Then, we sell them. Before, the buyers gave money directly but now we do not get our money after we sell them. We sell the cocoon in June but get our money in the beginning of January.”

“The state should support us”

Emphasizing that they do not receive a recompense for their work, Sevda Eren said, “We work hard to produce cocoons but we do not receive a recompense for our work. We face difficulties in finding food for the silkworms. We do this job but the state does not support us. Last year, all silkworms died because we did not receive any support. The state and the ministry of agriculture should support the silkworm farmers.”