Sericulture is a labour-intensive industry in all its phases, namely, cultivationof silkworm food plants, silkworm rearing, silk reeling, and other post-cocoonprocesses such as twisting, dyeing, weaving, printing and finishing. It providesemployment to approximately 60 lakhs persons, most of them being small andmarginal farmers, or tiny & household industry mainly in the hand reeling andhand weaving sections. Cultivation of sericulture is not very widespread beingpracticed regularly in contiguous districts in the three southern States of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; in the NER; in the tribal areas of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa; and in Jammu & Kashmir and West Bengal. The cocoons and silk processing industry has traditionallyexisted in clusters in areas not necessarily coinciding with the sericultureareas in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Bihar.Reeling of silk is more widespread, with different clusters/traditionallyproducing distinctive designs and weavers, mainly in saris.
India has the distinction of cultivating all the four commercially knownvarieties of silk, namely, Mulberry, Tasar, Eri and Muga.II WORLD RAW SILK PRODUCTION
The World Raw Silk production (mulberry and non-mulberry) about 125605MT (2004)
mainly from two countries, China and India
. Chinaleads the world with silk production of 102560 MT
or 81.7% of theproduce. India ranks second in respect of world raw silk production. It is thisposition, as one of only two major silk producers in the world, and from itsemployment potential, that sericulture and silk derive their importance in theIndian textile map. Policy decisions are defined mainly by these twoconsiderations.
III AREA UNDER CULTIVATION AND DOMESTIC RAW SILKPRODUCTION (DURING 2004-05)
India’s raw silk production is 17305 MT (2005-06), 89.25% (15445 M.T.) of itis mulberry and 10.75% (1860 M.T.)
silks. The area reported by Statesas cumulatively planted under mulberry
is 1.79 lakh hectares (2005-06);
andthe production of cocoons is
State-wise production of mulberry and non-mulberry silk is given in
Annexure II.IV PRODUCTIVITY OF RAW SILK
As seen from the table below, though, area under sericulture has fallen-mainly because of drought in AP and Karnataka in the first two years of XPlan, as also due to price fluctuations, the productivity per ha. has beensteadily improving. The main reasons behind increase in production isimproved silkworm races and hybrids, better technologies in rearing andreeling, evolution of higher leaf yielding mulberry varieties.