China takes the pride of bringing silk into our lives. Silk was introduced to this world by Lady Hsi-Ling-Shih, wife of the mythical yellow emperor of China during 3000 BC. They maintained the monopoly of silk for 3000 years. Global production of silk has doubled during the past two decades, despite man-made fibers replacing silk in some applications. China and Japan are the leading manufacturers of silk fibers, and fabrics in the world comprising 50% of the global production.

Indian Silk Industry:

Silk entered India during 3rd century B.C. India stands to be one of the leading consumer of silk and silk products, and a largest importer of raw mulberry silk. However, Indian silk sector has gone through numerous tribulations in the interim and it seems to be gradually losing its sheen. Domestic silk manufacturers are facing intense competition from China, and Indias share in the global market is declining gradually. The mounting pressures of global recession play its role in taking further toll on the industry.

Provisional figures for 2008-09 released by the CSB indicate that mulberry production has fallen from 16,245 metric tons in 2007-08 to 15,600 metric tons in 2008-09, though; there was significant increase of 33% Vanya silk production in 2008-09 which stood at 2,760 metric tons when compared to 2,075 metric tons in 2007-08. Overall, the production of raw silk grew marginally by just 40 metric tons from 18,320 metric tons to 18,360 metric tons.

Silk exports from India grew at a healthy rate in the first nine months for 2008-09 registering a growth of 12.6%. It soared from US $470.86 million in the first nine months of 2007-08, to $529.98 million in the same period of 2008-09. The notable product which recorded high growth rates were silk readymade garments with a 31% growth rate, while exports of carpets and silk waste slipped by 45.7% and 53.5% respectively in the same period. Still, the performance of the Indian silk sector is not satisfactory comparatively; over its counterparts.

Is the industry losing its gleam?

&sec=article&uinfo=<%=server.URLEncode(2026)%>" target="_blank">Fibre2fashion had an exclusive interview with Mr H. Hanumanthappa, Chairman of Central Silk Board (CSB), a national organization for overall development of sericulture and silk industry, functioning under the Union Ministry of Textiles.

  • Compare the Chinese silk industry with India. Also explain how does it surpass the Indian silk sector?
    China has the advantage of cheap and skilled labor and China was under a regiment rule for a number of years and quite recently the regimentation has been diluted, as such China has a disciplined labor force and is sincere in their efforts with an absence of organized unions. Cost of production is also low in China because of developed infrastructure and sufficient investment on capital machinery.

  • What are the reasons for the decline in Indian silk exports during 2008?
    He continued The sharp appreciation in the rupee vis--vis dollar witnessed in the year 2007-08 has resulted in a fall in silk exports from India and even as the appreciating rupee was making the countrys exports uncompetitive, exporters are being further burdened by high production costs caused by high interest costs, pressure on prices and growing costs of inputs. India is facing tough competition from China in respect of exports after liberalization of quota restrictions.