Sericulture: Opening employment avenues


    Courtesy: PR DEPTT, HP GOVT

    • Five lakh mandays generated under Sericulture activities every year.
    • 4,93,094 kg of green silk cocoons produced in Himachal Pradesh.
    • 6.24 MT raw silk sold in silk market of Karnataka and West Bengal.
    • Rs 27.10 crore projects implemented for development of Sericulture.
    • As many on 8,055 families are practicing sericulture in the State and most of them are living below property line.

    Himachal Pradesh with its congenial climate is well suited for production of quality bivoltine silk cocoons. Development of Sericulture in Himachal Pradesh is more advantageous as it improves ecology of fragile Himalyan Mountains, provides high cash return with small investment in short gestation period and is an important economic activity for generation of employment in the rural areas.

    The government of Himachal Pradesh is giving high priority to the development of sericulture industry primarily because of its potential to raise the income level of small and marginal farmers as well as that of landless people. Sericulture being a low investment and high return-oriented agro-based activity, suits well in ensuring better avenues of regular earning to the small and marginal farmers with limited resources.

    Sericulture being an eco-friendly agro-based labour intensive rural cottage industry is providing subsidiary employment and supplementing the income of rural farmers especially the economically weaker section of the society by way of rearing silk worms for production of silk cocoons. Under the Sericulture schemes, the Government has been undertaking different activities like creation of sericulture related infrastructure, development of nurseries and farms, providing technical know-how to the silk worm rearers in production and marketing of reeling cocoons, skill upgradation, training programme etc.

    The average income of the rearers is Rs. 5,000 to Rs 6,000 per annum. It is the endeavours of State Govt. to increase the number of families practicing sericulture from existing number of 8,055 to 30,000 and the average annual income from Rs.5000- 6000 to Rs 20,000 per annum. The sericulture activities are being practiced in eight Districts of the Pradesh namely Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Mandi, Kangra, Shimla, Solan, Sirmaur & Una. In order to provide better services to the farmers, 73 Chowki Rearing Centres, one Silk Seed Production Centre and 89 mulberry farms and nurseries had been set in the Pradesh. The Sericulture activities generate about five lakh mandays per year.

    For the development of Sericulture, State Government is implementing various developmental schemes like supply of chowki silk worms to the farmers on subsidised rate, development of mulberry gardens and distribution of high yielding mulberry saplings to the farmers, supply of disinfectant material, capacity building of the farmers, assistance for the construction of rearing sheds, supply of tool and equipments, incentives for setting up of reeling units and marketing support. In addition to this, five Centrally sponsored projects are being implemented in the State for the development of Sericulture involving an amount of about Rs 27.10 crore. Out of these projects, four projects are being implemented in District Bilaspur, Mandi and Hamirpur and one project is being implemented for all eight Districts in the State covered under sericulture. During the last three and a half year 4,93,094 kg. of green silk cocoons has been produced in the State and this has resulted a income of Rs 335.82 lakh to the farmers of the Pradesh. An additional area of 525 hectares has been three covered under the mulberry cultivation which is the essential raw material for the silk production.

    State Government is also providing assistance of 50 % to farmers for the construction of Rearing sheds of Rs 20,000, 50,000 and 1,00,000. During this period, 2270 rearing sheds have been constructed. Under Scheduled Caste Component Plan, rearing mud houses of 8,500 are being constructed for the benefit of Scheduled Caste beneficiaries, under which 100% grant-in-aid to SC beneficiaries are being given by the Government.

    During this period, 530 rearing mud houses has constructed and been provided tool kits worth Rs 1,500 each beneficiary. Similarly two multiend reeling units have also been set up in District Kangra at Palampur and Gaggal and five more multiend reeling units are being set up at Mandi, Hamirpur, Bilaspur and Kangra District which have been approved by the Central Silk Board, Ministry of Textiles and Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India. A Plan outlay of Rs.279.00 lacs have been provided in the State Annual Plans from the year 2003-04 to 2006-07. During this period, 705 new sericulture rearers have been identified and being benefited under various sericulture schemes of the State and Central Government. For the last three and a half year, 6.24 MT raw silk have been produced in the State and sold in the silk markets of Karnataka and West Bengal by the reelers of State. Such vocations would not only provide ample employment avenues to the youth but also go a long way in supplementing their income as well.

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