CHITTOOR: Sericulture farmers in Chittoor district are overjoyed with the prices of silkworm cocoons in the open market. The district has dedicated nearly 27,000 acres of land for the mulberry plantation. Sericulture has been taken up widely in Palamaneru, Kuppam and Punganur constituencies of Chittoor district.
Very recently, district Collector M Harinarayan announced a Sericulture hub in the region which will support farmers in cultivating mulberry plantation, rearing of silk worms and a marketing facility. Palamaneru revenue division is top in mulberry cultivation in the district. The regions are considered to have favourable conditions like low temperatures and the cultivation is taken up in nearly 450 villages in these three divisions. Usually, the production of silkworms is nearly 20,000- 25,000 MT per annum. The price of silkworm cocoons was Rs 275 in 2019 and it increased to nearly Rs 600 in the open market this year.
Sericulture involves two sections, one is cultivation and maintenance of mulberry plants - food for silkworms - and the other is rearing of silkworms in ventilated sheds, where the worms are fed.
Usually, silk worms are reared six times a year in the region and the reelers extract silk thread with multi end machines in Palamaneru division. “We are getting at least `70,000 for each crop after selling silk worms in the open market and I have been working in this field for the last 15 years. Traders from Dharmavaram, Madanapalle and also from parts of Karnataka visit the division regularly for purchasing silk worms,” said K Sukumar, a farmer from Palamaneru division.
The State government has been encouraging farmers in the region for cultivation of Sericulture by providing subsidies and also installing drip irrigation systems. “Majority of the families in the region rely on sericulture and rake in huge profits. We have been trying to increase the area of cultivation in the region. The State government has been giving subsidy for construction of sheds, mulberry plantation and machinery used for the cultivation,” a senior official from Sericulture department said.