Sericulture is the cultivation of silk through rearing of silkworm. It is an agro-based industry. It involves the raising of food plants for silkworm, rearing of silkworm for production of cocoons, reeling and spinning of cocoon for production of yarn etc. for value added benefits such as processing and weaving.

Some facts:

  • One hectare of Mulberry generates employment of about 12 man years and family members ranging in age between 18 to 60 years can engage themselves in various sericulture activities, such as, cultivation of food plants (Mulberry, castor etc., silkworm rearing, egg production, silk reeling, weaving etc.
  • India is the second largest producer of silk in the world after China
  • India has the distinction of producing all the four types of silk i.e. (a) Mulberry silk (91.7%); (b) Tasar silk (1.4%); (c) Eri silk (6.4%); and (d) Muga silk (.5%) which are produced by different species of silkworms.
  • Mulberry silk is produced extensively in the States of Karnataka, West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir. Similarly, Tasar silk worms are reared traditionally by the tribes of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa; Muga and Eri silk are produced exclusively in Assam. The food plant of silkworms is Mulberry for producing Mulberry silk.

Recent steps taken by the government to develop sericulture in India:

  • Integrated Scheme for the Development of Silk Industry’ for development of Sericulture industry in various states including Tamil Nadu, focusing on intervention in critical areas such as Feed, Seed, Breed, Post Cocoon Technology and Capacity Building. The scheme has the following components: 
  • Research & Development, Training, Transfer of Technology & IT Initiatives
  • Seed Organization
  • Coordination and Market Development
  • Quality Certification systems and Brand promotion & Technology up-gradation  
  • Cold Storage facilities and Bivoltine grainages have been strengthened to produce quality Bivoltine silkworm seed.
  • Silkworm Seed Act is being implemented to bring quality standards in silkworm seed production to improve the productivity and quality of silk.
  • Central Silk Board has developed latest technology packages, improved farm machineries, indigenous automatic reeling units and Vanya silk reeling and spinning units to reduce drudgery and improve quality and productivity of Vanya silk.
  • Forest Conservation Act has been amended to treat non mulberry sericulture as forest based activity enabling the farmers to undertake Vanya silkworm rearing in the natural host plantation in the forests.
  • Government of India through Central Sericulture training Institute of Central Silk Board (CSB) has been providing the technical support for post Cocoon sector, including the weaving sector. Introduction of all four varieties of silks to Handloom weavers, Introduction of spun silk as weft yarn in Ikkats weaving, Conversion of traditional Patola fabrics in to garments are some of the extention programme that has been carried out by Ministry of Textiles. To promote silk infrastructure in the country.

Practice questions:

Which of the following type of silk is not characterized as vanya silk?

       a)  Muga

       b)  Eri

       c)  Tasar

       d)  Mulberry

Ans: d

Which of the following pair of Silk weaving and place associated with it is correctly matched?

       a)  Amru silk – Varanasi

       b)  Patola Silk – Maharashtra

       c)  Kosa silk – Gujara

       d)  Maheshwari silk – West Bengal

Ans: a

Exp: Patola silk – Gujarat; Kosa Silk – Maharashtra; Maheshwari Silk – MP,