MYSURU: Sericulture farmers want to come out of the cocoon they have been forced into due to the long lockdown. It is not just these farmers, even silk reelers are reeling under the impact of the pandemic. Reelers who produce silk yarn say the drastic fall in price has taken the sheen off the silk. But both the farmers and reelers are hoping for better days.
Now they don’t have to look far for some good news. Sericulture Minister Narayana Gowda held out the hope on Monday that the sericulture farmers’ issues would be addressed once the spinning mills in Banaras, Chennai and Hyderabad that produce silk saris start production.
He said that many spinning mills were closed due to shortage of staff and also due to the lockdown in the last couple of months. However, the situation will improve once the production starts and reelers supply raw materials to the handlooms, he said.Several farmers have also stopped rearing silkworms due to drop in prices.
“I have stopped rearing silkworms as the prices have crashed from Rs 600 to Rs 200 a kg,” said Raghupathy Gowda, a sericulture farmer. He said many farmers have closed rearing centres. The government directions on the lockdown and many switching over to simple marriages has hit the sari sales. Ramesh, a farmer said, “Unless there is some improvement, I will not take up farming as I have lost `4 lakh during the lockdown.”
At a meeting here, Narayana Gowda said that many farmers who produce cocoons also run silk reeling centres and supply the reels to textile units. They have suffered due to the stagnant market, he said.
Asked about the Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation, he said the production and business were badly hit and the corporation would soon decide on discount sale or other promotion sales by taking note of available stocks.
When told about how KSIC offered silk saris for only Rs 4,500 during the Varamahalakshmi festival the previous year, the minister said the government is keen to revive the market and also see that the corporation also makes profits through its ventures.