Sericulture gets a boost in Assam

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Jorhat (Assam), Feb.25 (ANI): Sericulture has the possibility of becoming a major profession here if an attempt is made to induct proper methodologies.

To help evolve new strategies for sericulture, the 3rd National conference of National Academy of Sericulture Sciences, India (NASSI) was held here recently.

Organised jointly by the Central Muga Eri Research and Training Institute, and NASSI, the conference offered a platform to scientists and technocrats to share experiences and discuss new technologies related to improved silkworm rearing, seed production, disease management, high-yielding varieties or races of silkworms and their host plants.

Issues including how to find solutions due to emerging problems of changing climatic conditions and dissemination of the technologies were also discussed in the conference.

"There is a large potential for Eri sericulture and also the expansion of the Muga sericulture in this region. Various methodologies have been worked out in this conference which will ultimately help to increase Eri silk production India. Eri and Muga are the oldest silks of India," said Dr. R.K. Dutta, the President of National Academy of Sericulture Sciences, Bangalore.

"We organized this conference in collaboration with NASSI for increasing seed production of Muga and Eri, measures to check various problems faced by the farmers, to enhance high productivity through modern scientific inputs and to promote the products in national and international market. We have drafted various policies for the growth of Muga and Eri in the North Eastern region," said Dr. R. Chakravorty, Director of Central Muga Eri Research and Training Institute (CMER and TI) in Jorhat.

In 2007-08, Assam alone produced 105 metric tonnes out of a total national production of 117 metric tonnes of Muga raw silk and 837 metric tonnes out of 1530 metric tonnes Eri raw silk.

There was also an increase of 36.4 per cent in production of mulberry raw silk to 14 metric tonnes during 2007-08 from the previous years' 11 metric tonnes.

The State has emerged as one of the leading producers of silk in the country with the climate of Assam being favourable for growth of mulberry throughout the year.

Also, the popularity of sericulture has provided employment to several farmers in the State.

"This is a small time family business besides cultivation. Our forefathers started this business. I have three Bighas of land where I do this Muga and Eri farming. I sell my products to a company from Nalbari District and also sometimes to the government. I earn about 40,000 to 50,000 rupees annually and with this income I take care the needs of my family. I also got some financial and technical support from the central government. I am looking forward to expanding my business," said Makhan Saikia, one Assamese farmer.

"I earn 50,000 to 60,000 rupees annually. This is my only source of income with which I look after my family. I used to sell seeds and yarn from my home. I don't hire any extra labor; we (family) do the work ourselves. The government as well as private companies buy my raw products. We also use the yarn in weaving clothes and shawls for our personal use. Our family has benefited from this business and I am trying to expand farming in the coming days," said Sanjeet, one farmer.

An exhibition was also arranged during the conference and different Muga and Eri products were displayed.

The conference provided the much-needed exposure to the sericulture scientists of the silk products of Assam and the northeast region. By Vaschipem Kamodang (ANI)

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