SILK/IN THE PAST
Italy produced some of the finest silk in the world; India and China, some of the coarsest and poorest…
In early 1900, the world's raw silk was produced:
- 40% by the Empire of China,
- 20% by Japan,
- 20% by Italy,
- 10% by Persia, Asiatic Turkey, India, and Arabia,
- and the remaining 10% by France, Austria, Spain, or Portugal.
In 1997, Italy imported some 3200 tons of raw silk and over 700 tons of silk yarn, primarily from China…
- World silk production in 1940 was 59 million kg. By 1950 it had dropped to 19 million kg. By the mid-1980s it had climbed to about 68 million kg;
- traditionally the largest silk consumer, Japan in the 1960s relied entirely on local silk production, mostly for kimonos. Between the 1970s and today, local silk production dropped from over 20,000 tons to less than 2000. The country now depends on imported silk goods, particularly from China. Kimonos still absorb about 50% of the total raw silk consumption in Japan. Silk is little used in interior decoration;
- the cocoon production fell by 98% from about 90,000 tons in 1975 to no more than 2,000 tons in 25 years. This is because sericulture is labour-intensive and not cost-effective in modern Japan. A lot of mulberry fields have been changed to other crops;
- the production of silk decreased by 94% from about 20,000 tons in 1975 to 1,000 tons in 1998. The number of machine reeling mills is now only 8. Japan is still one of the main silk consuming countries. The shortfall between silk production and silk consumption makes necessary the importation of silk (from 9,720 tons in 1975 to 14,220 in 1997);
- the decline of the Japanese silk processing industry is having a serious effect on Brazilian sericulture, which caters largely to Japan.