BENGALURU: Production of muga and tussar silk has come down drastically over the years due to climate change and because no artificial elements are used in their production, said P Sivakumar, Member Secretary and CEO, Central Silk Board (CBS).
He said: "All India silk production at present is 36,500 metric tonnes. The target is to increase silk production to 50,000 MT by 2030. At present of the 36,500 MT of raw silk produced, 300MT is Muga. Its production has not increased since last five years. Even as Muga is also produced in Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, it is Assam centric. There is now a need to find other places in north east India and in the country where it can be produced."
He was speaking to The New Indian Express at the sidelines of the inauguration of the two day long international conference titled - Silkworm Seed Industry: Opportunities and Future Prospects, organised by National Silkworm Seed Organisation, Basic Tassar Silkworm Seed Organisation, Bilaspur, and Muga Eri Silkworm Seed Organisation of Guwahati, Central Silk Board, and Ministry of Textiles.
Sivakumar said it has also been noticed that silk production has come down in south Karnataka and increased in north Karnataka. Farmers in south Karnataka, except Chamarajanagar, are shifting to horticultural crops. Now to promote sericulture, farmers are being given automated reeling machines.
The Board is also promoting Karnataka’s reeling and Chowki reeling sector to various parts of India to increase reeling and production.
Prajakta L Verma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, said, the impact of climate change and global warming was being seen and there was a need for an evaluation to make the required changes. The dip in silk production in Jharkhand and other places has also been noted in the recent Niti Aayog reports. There is thus a need to provide research based solutions and collaborations, she said.
She added there is a need to look at changes that need to be brought into the seed act and in policy regulations. She also pointed to the need for having partnerships with private firms as they produce over 1.5 crore silk seeds.
She said that the ministry was working on expanding the allied fibres like hemp, sisal, ramie and kenaf. A lot of impact on materials and income has been observed over the times along with a drop in quality, she noted.
Also present on the occasion were researchers from Japan, China, Ghana, and Netherlands. Dr. Jung Lee, Professor, Gakushuin University, Japan said: "We have to give equal importance to the Vanya silk sector besides mulberry. There is a need for increasing sericulture and silk sciences research for better production."
Dr. L. Yathindra, Director, NIFT, said collaborations were necessary and stated that he was open for MoUs with silk industry for creating difefrent fashions.