Jorhat, Mar 23: As the demand for Assamese silk rises across the country, both the state and the central government are taking several initiatives to promote the sericulture industry in the region.
Eri, Muga, Mulberry and Oak Tassar are four different varieties of the silk produced in Assam. It is one of the oldest cottage industries of the region and provides employment about 2.5 lakh people.
Assam produces 90 percent of the Eri silk and 65 percent of the Muga silk and is one of the largest silk producing states in the country.
Currently, there is a shortfall of 7000 metric tonnes between demand and supply and the government is focusing on reducing the gap by promoting sericulture in the northeast.
Recently, the Annual Vanya Resham Krishi mela was organized in Jorhat to raise awareness among farmers about modern methods of silk production.
It was held at the Central Muga Eri Research and Training Institute at Jorhat with support from the Central Silk Board.
“This is the only institute that is looking at research in Muga and Eri production. The technology can be transferred to the field and through such programs farmers get chance to interact with scientists,” said R K Rajan, director, Central Muga Eri Research and Training Institute, Jorhat.
The mela aimed at spreading awareness about modern methods of sericulture production. It also aimed at attracting new farmers and creating job opportunities in the region.
Several farmers from nearby areas participated in the mela where sessions on different subjects like technical assistance, government schemes and new markets were held.
These sessions also provided farmers a platform to discuss their problems with experts. Ten of them were awarded for their enormous contribution, hard work and popularization of sericulture in the region. Today sericulture is practiced in other parts of the Northeast too.
“Earlier my financial condition was very bad but after joining silk production I got lots of profit and I help my brother and sister on their wedding. With this money I also got married and now I can take care of my family too,” said Gautam Chetia, an awardee.
“Silk products are the best way to earn a livelihood in Assam so I am interested in taking up sericulture,” said Kaylani Gagoi, another awardee.
India is the second largest producer of silk in the world just after China. The government aims to further increase productivity and production of better quality silk. For this it has set up silk research institutes, envisaged Silk Mark and Muga Mark and set up cocoon banks that collect cocoons from farmers in the villages. (ANI)