The Central Silk Board (CSB) has proposed setting up a regional centre for sericulture research in Gorakhpur and installation of reeling machines at 164 silk farms of the state government to increase production of silk in Uttar Pradesh.
Addressing a press conference on Saturday after his six-day-long tour of various districts, CSB chairman KM Hanumantharayappa said the climate of the Terai region bordering Nepal is conducive to production of silk, and awareness about silk production will help farmers as silk is ready to sell in about two months, faster than most other crops.
“In UP, the ground water is shallower and easily available as compared to Karnataka. But UP’s share in production of silk is only three per cent while Karnataka produces 60 per cent of India’s silk. UP has potential to increase its share to 15-20 per cent. There is a need for awareness about the programmes and subsidies of the central government. We are going to discuss our recommendations with the chief minister and the sericulture minister,” he said, before his meeting with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Sericulture Minister Satyadev Pachauri.
The CSB said in a statement that UP is a major consumer of silk (about 4,000 metric tonnes), but produces only 211 metric tonnes of raw silk. Though the state has a big domestic market in Varanasi’s weaving enclave, it does not produce enough raw silk to fulfill the local demand, it said.
Hanumantharayappa said farmers involved in silk production in the state have to sell their cocoon at low prices to states like West Bengal and Karnataka and the Board has proposed that a cocoon market be set up so that farmers can sell their produce locally at better rates. He added that a site is yet to be identified for this.
Hanumantharayappa said the Board will also provide assistance in research and training so that the farmers as well as those working in the post-cocoon sector can be better prepared for their jobs.
Pramod Kumar Dixit, a scientist with CSB, said the production of silk in UP is largely centred in eight Terai districts. “The Board has plan to increase the production in all the Terai districts and also increase the number of silk-producing districts from eight to 14,” he added.