AP, Karnataka, WB urge govt to revive Sericulture

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Hyderabad, Jul 28 (UNI) Ministers from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and West Bengal, the major silk producing states in the country, today urged the government to increase the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for silk cocoons and revive sericulture by increasing subsidies.

Addressing the media here after a conference on sericulture Andhra Pradesh Agriculture Minister N Raghuveera Reddy said the MSP for cocoons had not been increased since the last ten to 15 years.

It should be increased as per the market value to sustain sericulture in the States, he demanded.

The duty on silk being imported from China should be increased from the existing 30 per cent and silk smuggling from China should be stopped, he said, adding that the import duty was imposed only on first and second grade silk. The duty should be imposed on all imported silk varieties.

Observing that cultivation of mulberry was declining, he said the subsidies for setting up mulberry sheds and taking up reeling activities should also be increased.

Stating that the three States were planning to set up processing units in cluster mode and provide health insurance to the sericulture farmers on a par with weavers, Mr Reddy said a committee, led by Andhra Pradesh Principal Secretary to Agriculture S Chellappa, was constituted to formulate proposals for sericulture development.

The Committee, which included officials of the other two States, would submit its report in a week.

He said the report would be sumbitted to Union Textiles Minister Shankar Sinh Vaghela and Commerce Minister Kamal Nath before August 15.

About four lakh people in the three States depend on sericulture for their livelihood.

Karnataka Sericulture Minister Venkataramanappa said cultivation of mulberry and cocoons has reduced in the last several years.

West Bengal Textiles Minister Manabendra Mukherjee hoped that the common platform would help to develop sericulture industry by bringing the problems to the notice of the Centre.

UNI AP VA MP VC1650

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