Government targets increase in silk production to meet rising demand

Government targets increase in silk production to meet rising demand

Union Government has a target to increase the silk production to 31,000 metric tonne by the end of 12th finance plan, said M Sathiyavathy, member secretary of Central Silk Board (CSB).

“Presently, the demand for silk in the country is 30,000 metric tonne, while the supply is 21,000 metric tonne. There is a 31.5 per cent short supply. Though, the Government is not importing silk from China, the private players in the silk industry do import silk to make up the shortfall,” she said.

Mulberry cultivation

She told reporters that the CSB is promoting and encouraging farmers to adopt mulberry cultivation. The farmers are sensitised about the profits involved in the sericulture.  About 1.8 lakh hectares of land was being utilised for mulberry cultivation. Whereas, the total area needed to be enhanced to at least 2 lakh hectare area to achieve the target set for the 12th plan, she added.

Shrinking land

“Due to urbanisation, the agricultural land is shrinking in southern Karnataka – in districts like Bangalore, Mysore and other regions. Hence, the CSB is focusing the extension programmes in North Karnataka districts such as Bidar, Belgaum, Chitradurga and other districts. Farmers there are told about the lucrative sericulture business. 

The state sericulture department has also chipped in with their service to popularise the mulberry cultivation in the region,” she stated.

On the fall in prices of cocoon, she said the prices have always hovered between Rs 260 - Rs 270 per kilo for the multivoltine cocoon and a little above Rs 300 per kg for bivoltine cocoons.

She admitted the farmers procured Rs 350 and above per kilo of cocoon sometime back. “It was an abnormal price due to a combination of factors. The prices fell below normal recently. The state government should come out with support to the farmers at this juncture,” Sathiyavathy said.

Import duty

The Government has also slashed import duty from 35 per cent to 5 per cent to help the sustenance of the power looms and handlooms. A majority of power looms depend on the import quality silk. If the maximum number of power looms are concentrated in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Bangalore and Tamil Nadu regions also have powerlooms.
The handlooms are also spread in fairly good numbers across the southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, the member secretary said.

Capacity building

Earlier, speaking at a programme to lay foundation stone for the cold storage facility for silkworm preservation, she said the Government will support the opening of more such centres in the coming days. This is being done to increase the capacity building of the storage of cocoons in the region and encourage the farmers engaged in sericulture.

The cold storage facility built at a cost of Rs 3.1 crore in Mysore will be operational in a year, she disclosed.  

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