Silk secretariat moves to India from France

Silk secretariat moves to India from France

For the next three years, Bangalore will play host to the secret­ariat of the International Sericulture Commission (ISC), giving the country an edge in the global silk industry.

A vote held on June 14 at Cluj Napoca, Romania, won India the coveted title of Secretary General of the ISC. Consequently, the secretariat will move to the Central Silk Board in Bangalore from its previous location in Lyon, France.

At a press meet in Bangalore on Tuesday, the Member Secretary and Secretary General of the ISC, Ishita Roy, said that the vote had been based on several factors.

“Because India’s production level of silk is high, with research and technology leading to a rise in production, and because the country has good human resources, the international community thought it best to move the headquarters to India,” she said.

According to Roy, the priviledge of hosting the secretariat will also give India a chance to develop her silk institutes to international standards. India can also improve the brand name of ‘Indian Silk’ through ratification by Silk Mark.

Roy, who will assume office as Secretary General in January 2013, said that an action plan and a blue print will be readied in consultation with other member countries.

She expressed hope that India would be able to collaborate with nations like Japan, Brazil and Thailand. It is expected that Indian silk scientists will train silk farmers and consult in as many as 30 countries. The Central Silk Board also has plans to join the China-Japan germplasm consortium. K S Menon, joint director of the Central Silk Board, revealed that the Board has been quietly opposing the reduction of import duty on Chinese silk, especially because Chinese policies are “unpredictable.”

“The Silk Board has insisted that import duty be fixed at 20 per cent. Continued efforts are being made to ensure that the reduction does not hamper the domestic market,” he
said.

The domestic market, which had been affected by the new duty price, has now made a recovery, Menon added. Currently, the price of cross-breed variety silk stands at Rs 262 per kg, while the biovoltine variety fetches Rs 300 per kg. Another reason for the recovery was that imports from China had reduced, he added.

According to Menon, India imported 5,156 MT of raw silk from China in 2011-12. Before that, India was importing some 8,000 MT from China. At the present, Indian silk commands Rs 2,300 per kg, while Chinese silk brings Rs 2,700 per kg. “But Chinese silk continues to dominate the market,” Roy said, “Because rampant urbanisation in India has reduced valuable acreage of Mulberry, especially in Karnataka.”

Despite this, five lakh active farmers joined the sericulture fold in the last five years, she added. In the 11th financial plan, Rs 1,100 crore was set aside for the industry, while in the 12th plan, it has been decided to allot Rs 2,799 crore. India, which was producing 18,460 MT five years ago, today produces 23,000 MT. Demand, however, is over 30,000 MT.

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