Central Silk Board to meet growing domestic and international demand is looking to extend the area of mulberry cultivation in the state by focusing on arable land in north Karnataka. As of now, sericulture is concentrated in Mysore, Kolar, Ramanagaram, Bangalore rural, Chikballapur and Kolar districts.
Karnataka is a top silk producer which accounts for 35% of silk production in India at 8,219 metric tons (MT); but sericulture is essentially restricted to southern parts of Karnataka.
The Board is now seeking to extend and popularize traditionally non-sericulture zone in north Karnataka, as its weather and climatic conditions are congenial for sericulture.
Central silk Board as the prime driver of the ambitious plan, to stop import of silk from China would take to north Karnataka so as to increase its production and meet domestic and international demand, Central Silk Board member-secretary Ishita Roy said, addressing a workshop on 'Sericulture for sustainable livelihood' at Central Sericultural Research and Training Institute here on Tuesday.
Ishita Roy said that the demand for silk is growing globally and the silk produced in India is also getting market worldwide and hence there is a need to increase the area of sericulture in Karnataka to tap the global demand.
Board chairman N S Bissegowda said that India is producing 23,673 MT of silk annually as against the required 33,000 MT. The demand-supply gap is forcing us to import it from China. This is mainly because the area of mulberry cultivation has stagnated. Luckily, there has been no slump in silk production. He also endorsed Ishita's view on promoting sericulture in northern Karnataka.
According to M Mahadevappa, noted scientist and former vice-chancellor of University Of Agricultural Sciences, silk production has not skyrocketed as the technologies and new varieties of silkworms have not reached farmers. Premier labs develop technologies and new breeds, unfortunately don't reach the end users.
Roy referring to Rs 1,900 crore available with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) for the state, she said that the lender has agreed to spend Rs 280 crore for sericulture. The Karnataka government should utilise the funds and upgrade the markets. Prices are an issue but it can be taken care once the demand is surge.
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