INDIA: Sericulture industry provides livelihood in Jharkhand

GOVINDPUR: The State Industrial Department (SID) is helping the villagers by providing lucrative employment opportunities in the sericulture industry. The sericulture has emerged as a virtual lifeline for villagers in Maoist-affected areas in Jharkhand, said J P Shrivastava, Project Officer.
The department is providing villagers with silkworms, which are released on the trees for cocoon formation. A total of 687 trees have been grown on 11 acres for rearing silkworms. Chemically, silk is made of proteins secreted in fluid state by silkworms. These worms feed on select food plants and spin cocoons. The processing of cocoons leads to the production of silk.

Shrivastave informed that a single cocoon provides a thread of around 1000 to 1800 meters. The raw material is then handed over to the authorities. Last year, they had production to a capacity of 1,18,712 cocoons, but in the current situation they are aiming for a target of 500,000 cocoons this year.

Sericulture has become a means of livelihood for villagers in Jharkhand where the Maoists have a stronghold in 18 of the 22 districts. However, the project (sericulture) has helped the villagers a lot as now they do not have to go out in search of employment.

India produces a variety of silks, including Mulberry, Tussar, Muga and Eri depending upon the feeding habit of cocoons. Over six million people are engaged in various sericulture related activities across the country.

The official figures reveals that India requires 120,000 metric tons silk to meet the demand in the world market, and with better infrastructure facility the sericulture industry can improve productivity to 15 percent as against the current nine percent.

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Added: November 19, 2007 Source: Agencies.
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