The textiles ministry has finalised an area expansion plan proposed by the Central Silk Board (CSB) in an effort to increase the production of silk in the 12th five-year Plan. The CSB has planned to bring additional 59,000 hectares (ha) under cultivation of mulberry silk in both traditional and non-traditional areas.
“We have set a target of increasing the silk production to 32,000 tonnes by the end of the 12th Plan period and this requires additional area. Over a period of four years, we have proposed to increase the area under mulberry silk by 59,000 ha, a growth of 32 per cent over the present level. Presently, silk is produced from 185,000 ha in the country,” said K Shetty, joint secretary, CSB.
The new area expansion would help in increasing the production of silk from the present 23,000 tonnes per annum to 32,000 tonnes, a growth of 39 per cent. However, the new target will be achieved only from the terminal year of the 12th Plan period, which is 2016-17, Shetty said.
The ministry has allocated Rs 1,269 crore (Rs 12.69 billion) to the CSB for its development activities for the 12th Plan, an increase of 21 per cent over the 11th Plan period allocation of Rs 1,050 crore (Rs 10.5 billion).
The CSB has planned to expand the area under mulberry silk in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, apart from non-traditional areas in the eastern parts of the country.
In order to achieve this target during the 12th Plan, the CSB would integrate the present scheme of catalytic development programme (CDP) and focus on cluster approach to improve the quality of cocoon and silk. A package of innovations, technologies, and extension support would be provided to the stakeholders to increase the production and productivity of Indian silk.
The CSB would provide high quality silkworm seeds, plantation material and other inputs to the sericulture farmers through private participation. Under the CDP, the board would involve respective state governments and stakeholders. For this programme, the government has approved a capital investment package of Rs 889 crore, a rise of 8.3 per cent over the previous Plan period, Shetty said.
The ministry of textiles has also approved development of 100 Biotin silk production clusters, which will be linked to the research and development institutes and regional sericultural research stations and extension centres. Community-based organisations would be created and non-governmental organisations will be encouraged in the bivoltine production bases for strengthening and extension mechanism among others, he said.
The CSB is also planning to bring quality standards in silkworm seed production. The Silkworm Seed Act will be implemented intensively.
All these measures are aimed at increasing domestic silk production. “India imports 6,000 tonnes of silk valued at over Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20 billion) from China, Japan, Thailand, among others, to meet the demand. With the help of new measures, we will increase silk output so that the dependency on imported silk will be reduced,” Shetty added.