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Karnataka govt announces support for silk cocoon growers
Nov '11
The Karnataka government has come to the rescue of silk growers in the State, who have been enduring a vertical fall in silk cocoon prices since March this year.

The government has announced that it would pay a support price of Rs. 30 per kg whenever the silk prices drop below Rs. 160 per kg.

Experiencing a drastic fall of almost 62.5 percent, the price of cocoons has dropped from Rs. 160 per kg during the first quarter of this year to Rs. 60 per kg at present.

The government has come out with a market intervention package of Rs. 50 million to help the silk growers who are suffering severe financial crisis due to a fall in silk prices and has announced that additional sums would also be released based on the seriousness of the situation, BN Bachegowda, Minister for Sericulture and Labour said.

He informed that the market intervention scheme has become effective from November 1, 2011 and added that the State government has already released Rs. 120 million to the Silk Marketing Board to help it stabilize the prices. Besides, it has even extended an assurance of raising a fund of Rs. 250 million from the commercial banks.

It was for the second time during the year, that the silk cocoon prices experienced a drastic fall in the State's leading markets like Ramanagar, a few days back. During the month of March too, when the Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his 2011-12 budget proposals slashed import duty on silk from 30 percent to five percent, the cocoon prices crashed by around 57 percent from last year's high of Rs. 350 per kg to Rs. 150 per kg. This was mainly because it became cheaper for the reelers to import silk rather than procuring the same from growers in the State.

Following this, a delegation headed by the then Chief Minister of Karnataka met the Prime Minister, the Textiles Minister and the Finance Minister and requested them to rescue Karnataka silk growers by retaining the silk import duty at 30 percent. However, the Central Government has yet not reacted on this request.

Around half of the country's raw silk production takes place in Karnataka, as of the country's annual raw silk production of 19,000 tons, around 8,000 tons is produced in the State from 55,000 tons of cocoons.

As against total production of 19,000 tons, the country's overall demand for silk is pegged at 25,000 tons, and hence the reelers ship in the rest 6,000 tons from China.

Nearly 126,000 farmers in around 10,795 villages in the State are engaged in mulberry cultivation.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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