Historic Kashmir silk making silent comeback

In 6 years, cocoon production in J&K rises by 36%

MUKEET AKMALI
Srinagar, Publish Date: Apr 21 2018 1:21AM | Updated Date: Apr 21 2018 1:21AM
Historic Kashmir silk making silent comebackGK Photo

Once on verge of extinction, Kashmir’s historic silk is making silent comeback in the state with cocoon production recording an increase of 36 percent during last 6 years.

Kashmir has been historically famous for the best quality silk production and its trade world over in the farm of raw textile, clothes and carpets.

A draft report of Jammu and Kashmir Industries Corporation (JKI) reveals that cocoon production has increased by 35 percent from 810 metric tonnes in 2010-11 to 1,105 MT in 2015-16.  With increase in production, the number of people associated with the trade is also gradually increasing.

In 2010-11, 75,000 persons were associated silk trade in J&K, which has now increased to 3.5 lakh persons. Further people associated with sericulture farming have gone up from 22,700 to 31,882, claims the report.

The report mentions that number of villages dealing with sericulture too have increased to 2838 from 2450.  

The reason for the growth attributed by the report is increase in price of the raw material. In 2010, average price of a kilogram of cocoon was Rs 300 which have increased to Rs 750 a kg in 2017.

“In the year 2015-16 there were about 7 lakh mulberry trees in the state out of which 53 percent (370,000) are in Jammu Division and 47 percent in Kashmir Division. There are 2,800 villages and 33,000 households which generating income of Rs 20.26 crore through the sericulture farming annually. It creates 5 lakh man days of work with 3 lakh on-farm and 50,000 off-farms. 

“Cocoons are sold by rearers to reelers in the district auction centres, the reeling which was earlier carried out in two filatures - Government Silk Filatures, Rambagh, Srinagar and Government Silk Factory, Jammu. As both having shutdown, at present reeling is completely done by private businesses. Out of the total production only 30 percent of the cocoon are purchased by local private reelers while the rest is supplied outside the state, the report mentions.

However, the raw silk is not to be produced according to the potential of cocoon production in the state as less than 30 percent of cocoon crop is consumed within the state.

The number of mulberry trees and rearers as well as quantum of seed production and distribution had started declining which stood in the way of progress of silk industry and ultimately led to dismal state of production of 18 tons of raw silk in 1990-91, in sharp contrast to the production of 113 tons of raw silk during pre-independence period.

It adds that understanding the importance of silk industry in the state, tremendous efforts have been made by the Sericulture Department with the collaboration of Central Silk Board, from time to time for the upliftment of the industry. Silkworm rearers are motivated towards sericulture by providing them many facilities. It is because of this, that cocoon production once again showed a positive trend, says the report.

 

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