Kashmir’s Silk industry Heading Towards Doom
Sajad Kralyari (Rising Kashmir)
Srinagar: Kashmir flagship industry of yesteryears, the silk industry is heading towards doom as number of farmers associated with silk rearing has reduced to less than one-fifth.
As against 2000 farmers who where associated with sericulture in every district two decades back, only 400 farmers are presently rearing silk worms in each district.
The farmers are provided all the necessary equipment by the government besides seeds and the expertise to encourage sericulture.
After rearing, the farmers hand over the cocoon to the department who call contractors from different states for the purchase of this product in the cocoon market at Srinagar.
“The contractors from West Bengal and Karnataka visit Kashmir in the month of July for purchase of silk cocoons who later process it for manufacturing,” said Ganai. “Earlier, the cocoon market was held in many districts and now it is held at the department only,” said Ganai.
The farmers also blame tough competition from other states as the reason for their disinterest.“This crop has low profit and is done only for one month. There is a high competition from other states also where contractors get cocoons at low rates,” said a farmer from Sopore.
The experts believe invasion of low cost silk yarn from China also led to the decrease in the demand of silk worms from the State besides heavy mortality rates of cocoons.
“Chinese silk yarn comes at a cheaper rate in Indian market due to which prices of silk cocoons produced locally slash down,” said Director Research SK University of Agriculture and Technology Kashmir A R Trag. Trag also said that mortality of the silkworm was high due to the improper rearing of the cocoons by the farmers.
“Farmers reared more seed than the space available which led to overcrowding. They also dry cocoon in open sunlight,” said Trag.