INDIA: Jharkhand is on way to double its 'tassar' silk output

Jharkhand is on way to double its 'tassar' silk output to 300 tonne this year, by way of broad-basing the involvement of tribals and other locals in this forest-based produce. The state has been the top producer of 'tussar' in the country last year, with a production of 150 tonne.

The state has also been able to increase the number of its traditional silk rearers to around 65,000.

Production of commercial cocoon and its sale involve three multiplication stages- nucleus seed, basic seed and commercial seed. According to Jharkhand handloom, sericulture & handicraft department director Dhirendra Kumar, the department makes available the commercial seeds to poor farmers in the state to produce cocoons to sell them later on.

Jharkhand had not been handling nucleus seeds and was only multiplying basic seeds to produce commercial seeds for onward distribution amongst rearers. Nucleus seeds had been the exclusive domain of the Central Silk Board(CSB).

Jharkhand's demand of 20 lakh, instead of 2.5 lakh, basic seeds from the CSB in 2005 was turned down as it was producing only 19 lakh basic seeds altogether in the country. The board was not in a position to meet Jharkhand's demand.

"With each farmer to be given an average 200 eggs for rearing will mean production of at least 1.3 crore commercial seeds, which, in turn, means a demand for 20-22 lakh basic seeds," Kumar told FE.

Knowing the bottleneck, Jharkhand's Handloom, Sericulture & Handicraft department had, in 2006, requested CSB to support its plans to produce nucleus seeds in the state itself. The idea was, successfully, put on a trial run in 2007. Consequently, the state had produced around 15 lakh commercial seeds.

The state, at present, has a reserve of around 20 lakh nucleus seeds, a part of which it will be using it in June-July, 2008, for the production of five to six lakh basic seeds.

With CSB's annual basic seeds quota of 2.5 lakh, Jharkhand's commercial seeds is expected to touch the 50 lakh-mark in 2008, said Kumar.

In addition to this, Pradan, a prominent NGO, is also to contribute handsomely to this 'tussar' silk production figure.

"All this means that we will end the season around December 2008 by way of having commercial cocoons which will be able to give us 300 tonne of 'tussar' silk," said the director. The locals can also afford to buy commercial cocoons to stock around...

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Added: April 10, 2008 Source: THE FINANCIAL EXPRESS
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