Mysterious disease kills thousands of silkworms in Kupwara

Locals said the disease came to the light some two weeks ago when the farmers noticed premature death of large number of silkworms in the Kandi areas of this district.

Shahid Rafiq
Kupwara, Publish Date: Jun 24 2015 9:54PM | Updated Date: Jun 24 2015 9:54PM
Mysterious disease kills thousands of silkworms in KupwaraFile Photo

A mysterious disease in Kandi areas of Kupwara district has killed thousands of silkworms causing losses worth lakhs of rupees to the stakeholders.

As per reports the disease which was first reported in kandi belt of Kupwara following frequent rains and hailstorms there, is spreading to adjoining areas like Tirch, Armpora, Shadipora, and Waterkhani .

Locals said the disease came to the light some two weeks ago when the farmers noticed premature death of large number of silkworms in the Kandi areas of this district.

“Thousands of silkworms have died in different Kandi areas where silkworms are raised” Muhamamd Shafi, a farmer said.

There is panic among the farmers. “The disease has left hundreds of stakeholders shattered owing to huge financial losses,” he said.

“Every year from 15 May to 20 June, silkworms develop progressively to reach a particular stage, but this time around their premature death has spelled dome for us as we are wholly and solely dependent on this trade,” Bashir Ahmad, a farmers from Nutnoosa Kandi said. The farmers fear the disease may cause sharp downfall in silk production in Kupwara district this season.

Kupwara provides favourable climatic condition for all types of mulberry silk varieties.

The farmers said: “Every year teams of Sericulture department visited here. They advised us about scientific methods of raising the silkworms and gave us tips about increasing the cocoon production. They would suggest ways to save the silkworms from any diseases and also distributed medicines. But this year hardly any team visited the area before the outbreak of the disease.”

When contacted, Sericulture Assistant Kupwara, Ghulam Muhammad confirmed to Greater Kashmir the outbreak of this unknown disease.

“This has happened for the first time here. The problem was first reported  from Kandi belt , we  immediately called a team of experts from Central silk research  Boards Pampora and Bandipora  to identify the disease that has probably been caused by a virus. The teams have visited the affected farms in Kanid area and the experts have collected samples and are analyzing them to identify the disease” he said.

“The virus may have been caused by frequent rains and hailstorm which made mulberry leaves wet and damaged them,” he said. “We have distributed lime and Vijayta dusting powder among growers to spray it in the farms,” he added.

Meanwhile, silk worm growers of the district have urged the higher authorities of Sericulture department to take proper measures to identify the disease so that it is controlled at the earliest.

More than 1500 growers in Kupwara district are connected with rearing of silkworms and they earn their livelihood by selling silk cocoons. Mulberry trees are grown in abundance in Kupwara Kandi, Handwara and other belts of the district for the production of silk cocoons.

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