Rising demand for Thai silk in the international market has helped sericulture in Thailand maintain a steady growth, according to the Thai Government’s Public Relations Department (PRD) website.

Thai silk products in the United States, Japan, and European countries are in great demand, while some countries in the Middle East, such as Oman, are starting to pay more attention to Thai silk for use in decoration.

The PRD said market value of Thai silk is now about six billion THB (approximately 200 million USD) a year, adding that although demand for Thai silk remains high, the area for silk farming is on the decline. Today, the land area for silkworm raising and mulberry production has dropped to only 40,000 acres (16,000 ha) from the previous 160,000 acres (64,000 ha).

In order to meet the growing demand for Thai silk products in both local and foreign markets, officials have accelerated the expansion of silk farming in the northern region.

Thai silk exports earned the country more than 600 million THB (20 million USD) in 2012. They are likely to increase, especially hand-woven cloth, which is gaining popularity abroad. Major markets include the United States , Japan , Italy , the United Kingdom , and France .

Silk is one of Thailand’s best-known handicrafts, found not only in numerous local shops but also throughout the world. It is also among the most popular products under the “One Tambon, One Product,” or OTOP, programme.

Silk weaving is practiced in every region and there are a number of silk companies in and around Bangkok, but the Northeast is still the main production centre.-VNA