Mysuru: The recent 5 percent GST on sericulture has raised the eyebrows of farmers concerned and those into silk business. Hence to address their issues and bring down GST to 2 percent, a meeting would be held with Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani and bureaucrats in a couple of days, said Hanumantharayappa, Chairman, Central Silk Board.
“Demand for silk is more than the production. Hence we imported 6000 metric tonne of silk from China during 2016-17. In 2016-17, the demand for silk in India was more than 36000 metric tonne but we produced 30,000 metric tonne and the difference was imported from China. There is also a growing demand from foreign countries for our finished silk products which includes dress materials. In 2015-16, the total silk production in India was 28,523 tonne while it increased to 30,348 tonnne during 2016-17. In Karnataka, where 50 percent of country's total silk production takes place, most of the farmers are into mulberry plantation. Mulberry was cultivated in 91,491 hectares during 2016-17 while during 2015-16 it was in 87,598 hectare. Though there is a slight decrease in the number of villages where sericulture farming was undertaken in the state, the number of families getting into it increased from 1,23,442 in 2015-16 to 1,25,545 families in 2016-17. In another two years, we want to be self sufficient in silk production and hence we are going all out in our effort in creating awareness about advantage of taking sericulture farming”, added Hanumantharayappa. Keeping the growing demand in mind, the Silk Board is going all out in its efforts to meet the demand by promoting sericulture farming across the country, especially where there is more potential.
As part of promotional and awareness programme, Hanumantharayappa along with his officials was in Mysuru. During their stay in Mysuru, they had been to Periyapatna taluk where many of them are into tobacco cultivation. “Periyapatna is also a good place to take up sericulture farming. The crop can be grown in any weather condition and one can come out with more than 10 crops every year and can easily earn upto Rs 2 Lakh to Rs 3 Lakh from each acre. The department encourages the farmers by giving subsidies”, added Hanumantharayappa. The authorities including its chairman are trying their level best to create awareness across the country, especially where there is more potential for sericulture farming.
Mulberry Tree plantation picking up across the state
In sericulture, there are two types of farming-one is bush plantation and another is tree plantation cultivation. The traditional method is bush plantation cultivation which needs more water but tree plantation cultivation doesn’t require more water. Hence due to scarcity of water and drought across the state, those into sericulture farming have started tree plantation cultivation.
Jalaja S Kumar, Scientist, Regional Sericulture Station, Bengaluru; B T Sreenivasa, Joint Director, Central Sericultural Research and Training Institute, Mysuru and D S Somaprakash, Joint Director, CSRTI, Mysuru were also present.