KOLKATA: The West Bengal government, which has been ramping up raw silk production in the state, is planning to add about 1,620 acres of cultivable land under sericulture production in the current fiscal, a minister said on Monday.
"In 2017-18, we had extended plantation area for 1,733 acres covering all the four varieties of raw silk. The target of new area extension for mulberry is 1,000 acres, that for tasar is 400 acres, for muga it is 70 acres and 150 acres for eri in 2018-19 (FY19)," said state Agriculture Minister Ashish Banerjee said.
About 2,577 metric tonne (mt) of raw silk including the four varieties was produced in 2017-18 (FY18) by the seri-farmers and entrepreneurs in the state. The production targets for raw silk in FY19 are 2,575 mt for mulberry, 46 mt for tasar, 6 mt for eri and 400 kgs of muga, he said.
Additionally, the plan has been taken up in FY19 for plantation and maintenance of tasar in 83.3 acres, of mulberry in 21.33 acres and 400 mt of field channel excavation under MGNREGP, the rural job guarantee scheme.
The state Agriculture Department has tied up with Panchayat and Rural Development, Paschimanchal Unnanyan Affairs, Uttar Banga Unnanyan Affairs and others for utilising their resources for plantation projects of host plants.
While the average yearly bivoltine cocoon and bivoltine silk production was around 9 mt and 1 mt respectively in 2010-11, the yearly production shot up to 288.6 mt and 36 mt respectively in 2017-18.
"We are trying to help seri-farmers and entrepreneurs through formation of groups, clusters and relevant mechanization and credit supports along branding of the product so that they can meet demands of a competitive market," Banerjee added.