Sericulture in India

By | August 21, 2014

Sericulture or silk farming is the rearing of silkworms for the production of silk. Sericulture is an age old practice in India.

sericulture

The Aryans discovered silkworm in the Kashmir valley. Indian epics like the Ramayana, Rig-Veda and Mahabharata also mention the use of Pitambara (silk cloth of Indian origin) and Chidambara (silk cloth of Chinese origin). Silk was one of the major reasons for the Indian fame during pre medieval and medieval times.

Sericulture in India is one of the major life lines of the rural Indian population. India produces all the 5 known varieties of silk namely:

  1. Mulberry
  2. Oak-tsar
  3. Tropical-tsar
  4. Eri
  5. Muga

Out of these 5 forms of sericulture in India, the Muga silk worm is endemic to India and its production is confined to the Brahmaputra valley and the states of North East India. In mulberry silk production, more than 98% is produced from the 5 traditional states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil nadu and Jammu & Kashmir. India has made a phenomenal progress in the production of mulberry raw silk since independence. The term Silk Route, one of the most widely used terms in geopolitics, in etymologically related to silk production in the Indian subcontinent.

Prior to the setting up of a Central Silk Board, the condition of sericulture in India was not good. The total production in India was only 1154 tons per year and sericulture was considered as a subsidiary and secondary occupation for the people of the country. However after the setting up of a Central Board, it got a great boost and the production of silk went up to 18320 tons in 2007-08.

Sericulture in India has been developed in various clusters. The major silk handloom clusters in India are:

  • Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh
  • Kanchipuram in Tamil nadu
  • Dharmavaram in Andhra Pradesh

The important fabrics produced are plain silk fabric, charkha silk, chiffon, chinnon, crepe, oranza, satin and murshidabadi silk. Indian silk sarees are famous all over the world for their fine quality and fabric. These fetch very high prices in the international markets.

State Wise annual silk production in India (2007-08):

State

Raw Silk (metric tons)

Karnataka

8240

Andhra Pradesh

4485

West Bengal

1660

Tamilnadu

1368

Maharashtra

125

Jammu & Kashmir

105

Manipur

80

Madhya Pradesh

50

Others

132

Total

16245

Sericulture is one of the biggest allied activities in agriculture in rural areas. It has pulled a lot of rural people out of poverty and has the potential of turning the fortunes of millions of rural Indians.

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