Tanda Spinning Success from Commercial Sericulture


Sericulture involves the rearing of silkworm, collection of cocoons and their delivery for reeling purpose, reeling of raw silk from the cocoons and availability of mulberry trees from which fresh leaves can be obtained. India is the 2nd largest producer of silk in the world after China. India is also the largest consumer of silk in the world. Union Territory of J&K is one of the leading silk producing territories in the country. In J& K there are various villages where the sericulture is considered as an important activity for the farmers.In J&K there are around 7 lakh mulberry trees out of which 53 per cent are available in Jammu region and 47 per cent in Kashmir region. Approximately 6,680 quintals of raw silk of Rs.50 crores worth is produced annually in J&K. J&K is the only region in the country which is at the same altitude in which leading biovoltine sericulture countries of the world lie. This UT is blessed with the conducive atmosphere to produce the biovoltine silk.Sericulture is the traditional cottage industry in J&K producing high quality biovoltine silk comparable to the international standard. Sericulture can help to improve the economic condition of the rural people and also generates employment opportunities for them. Sericulture gains importance in the context of growing unemployment in J&K, both disguised and seasonal. Most of the farmers in J&K are not employed throughout the year and sericulture can provide subsidiary employment.
Union Territory of J&K has tremendous potential for silk development and can be one the major employment generating sectors. Its growth has immense employment generation potential particularly in rural areas of J&K. The J &K Government has taken several innovative initiatives to boost the age old traditional sericulture industry for the rural development. Cocoons made in J&K are very famous due to the purity and people from across the world prefer to purchase silk produced from J&K. This sector is assisting to boost the economy of J&K. The J&K government is making some strenuous efforts to revive this industry for the benefit of the rural people. There is dire need to promote the silk produced from J&K. The government has launched some small schemes including free planting material and distributing of free silk rearing kits that growers are using during rearing process of cocoons. In J&K, this industry has been considered as the old industry and the scientific technologies are assisting the farmers to produce the high quality silk. Sericulture authorities organized cocoon auction markets across the UT where the growers sell their cocoons. In J&K, sericulture is an ideal enterprise for the rural development especially for the weaker sections of the society. Sericulture is an eco-friendly vocation and has high potential for poverty eradication. It has proved an ideal tool for women and tribal farmers of J&K.
Reasi district of Jammu division is an abode of Mata Vaishno Devi and endowed with the vast bio- diversity and agro- climatic diversity. It is one of the oldest towns of J&K. The primary occupation of the people of Reasi district is agriculture and allied activities. Various ethnic communities viz. Hindu, Dogra, Muslim Gujjars, Muslims, Kashmiri & Sikhs are the inhabitant of the district.About 94 % of Reasi district is rain fed with about 6 per cent irrigated area. Mean annual rainfall varies from 1000-1100mm with intensity ranging from the drizzling to the torrential rain. Rainfall is heavy and well distributed from May-September, July being the wettest. Rainfall is moderate in other months. Sometimes dry spell may prevail from the month of Dec-March. Large variation in agro- climatic conditions at micro- level are observed due to mountainous terrain and high peaks in the district. Major crops of Reasi districts are maize, wheat, paddy, mustard and pulses like black gram (mash) and green gram (moong). The other crops which have been making a significant impact on economy of the farmers are seasonal vegetables, potato and fodder. There is ample scope for growing mushrooms, sericulture, apiaries for honey and backyard poultry in both the districts. Horticulture is another very important part of agriculture in the district. Citrus and mango are important crops in Reasi and Pouni blocks while stone fruits and walnuts have great scope in higher elevations of Reasi and Udhampur districts. Reasi district has immense potential for growing mulberry, spices namely onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric in specific pockets. Reasi district of J&K is well- known for sericulture. Earlier the cocoon production was low in the district as most of the farmers were lacking the scientific approach in its production. Department of Sericulture and SKUAST-J interventions increased the cocoon production in the district and thus assisted the farmers to increase their income. Presently a large number of farmers in the district are practicing the commercial sericulture.
Tanda is a remote village in Reasi district of Union Territory of J&K which is about 30 Km away from Reasi town. The major occupation of people of this village is agriculture and agriculture is mostly done under rain fed conditions. The village lacks the road and ICT connectivity. Maize and wheat are the major crops of the village. Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Reasi is about 2Km away from this village and after establishment of KVK in the area, farmers are continuously guided on the scientific cultivation of different crops. Farmers are also guided to start some agriculture and allied sectors enterprises such as sericulture, beekeeping, dairy farming, poultry farming, mushroom cultivation etc. by which the income of farmers of the area have been increased.KVK scientists imparted training programmes on these enterprises in the village and upgraded the knowledge of the farmers.KVK scientists also did benchmark survey in the village and it was observed that the village has immense potential in sericulture. Department of Sericulture and KVK scientists imparted awareness and trainings programmes on commercial sericulture. Farmers were also provided the improved varieties of mulberry in the village by the SKUAST-J. Farmers were trained on proper care and feeding of cocoons. They followed all the package of practices for scientific sericulture as guided by the experts. They increased mulberry trees in their fields. Presently there are about 60 farmers of this village who are doing the commercial cultivation of sericulture and thus are generating extra income. They produce about 50 Kg(each) high quality cocoons at their homes and sale their produce at remunerative price. These cocoons are purchased by the merchants at the rate of about Rs.1000/-Kg. Every cocoon producer of the village generate a good amount of money by selling these cocoons. By observing the successful results of these farmers, the other farmers of the area are coming forward for commercial sericulture. Special market linkages of these farmers have been made by which they sell their produce at a good price. Sericulture has been proved as a profitable enterprise and has been helpful to raise the socio-economic status of the farmers of Tanda village.
Mulberry cultivation and silkworm rearing have become a money spinner for the small and marginal farmers of Tanda village in Reasi district. Department of Sericulture and KVK, Reasi are promoting the scientific cultivation of mulberry and rearing of silkworms in the area. This enterprise has been adopted by the farmers and women farmers of Tanda village. This enterprise is attracting the farmers of the area at a large scale. Tanda village has set an example of entreneurship development in sericulture in the area and thus attracting many other farmers towards this profitable enterprise. Sericulture has been proved as an effective tool for poverty eradication in Tanda village. This enterprise provided income and employment opportunities to all the family members of the farmers. This sector has the unique feature of converting family labour into useful income for the family of the farmers. This vocation brought significant revenue to the households, thereby helped several poverty stricken families in the village, especially the marginalized sections of the population. Sericulture has been proved as one of the most potential agricultural vocations in the village with low capital investment and high returns. Cocoons are produced by these farmers belonging to economically weaker sections and are sold at remunerative price. Sericulture acts as an excellent tool for transfer of wealth from affluent sections of the society to the poor. This enterprise with a good income potential has been proved as a viable alternative for small and marginal farmers of the village.
(The writer is Sr. Scientist & Head of KVK, Reasi Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology-Jammu).

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