New silk cocoon market unlikely to ‘boost’ sector

The announcement of a cocoon market on the lines of the one in Ramanagaram, in the budget by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, may not give a big boost to the sericulture industry in the region.

For, the places around Mysuru lack a well-established weaving industry and the cocoon markets largely depend on the reelers, who buy silk cocoons. Moreover, the cultivation of mulberry which is a prime source of food for silkworms has seen a decline here, according to industry sources.

“Another reason why a new cocoon market may not be of much use is that similar markets, though not on the scale of Ramanagaram which is reckoned to be Asia’s second biggest, developed at T. Narsipur, Hunsur and Tandavapura in the district were shut down owing to lack of patronage,” argues S.S. Sadananda, former Joint Director of Sericulture, who has vast experience in the area of sericulture.

The market at Kollegal in Chamarajnagar district is operating, thanks to the presence of weavers with reelers from the bordering towns of Tamil Nadu coming there to buy cocoons. The markets at Santhemarahalli in Chamarajnagar district and Malavalli in Mandya district do not make noticeable transactions, he said.

The market in Hunsur was shut down with the taluk being one of the largest producers of tobacco in the state.

“When there are no buyers, how will a market survive,” Mr. Sadananda asked, on the logic behind announcing the market in the budget.

Minister for Sericulture and Tourism S.R. Mahesh, who hails from Mysuru, had said here recently that he had proposed a cocoon market for Mysuru and had asked the department officials for submitting a proposal for its inclusion in the budget.

This correspondent had spoken to a senior department official a few days ago following the Minister’s statement and he too expressed a new silk cocoon market here was not viable. The officer added that the existing markets in the region can be developed instead of establishing a new one.

The new market had been planned at a cost of Rs. 3 crore and Rs. 1 crore had been set aside for it in the budget.

Chawki rearing centres

Arguing that the government should focus on establishing more chawki rearing centres, Mr. Sadananda said, “If the government really wants to boost the sector, then it should take steps for rearing silkworms and supply them to farmers. This will go a long way in boosting the sector since not all farmers are fully aware of the new technologies.”

He said the silkworm rearing houses lacked ventilation, humidity and many were ill-equipped to rear them for the entire period.

The farmers can as well buy 10-day old worms from government-run centres and rear them for the remaining days at sheds or homes in hygienic conditions.

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