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?
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
The fabric of royalty, and prestige, now; is deeply affected by the downturn, distressing the livelihood of thousands of weavers. 90% of Indias silk products are made on handlooms. Incomes of many weavers are deeply affected due to the free market following Chinas entry into the WTO. After reaching a record of Rs.3, 500 in 2007, silk exports are likely to decline to Rs.2, 000 in 2009. Despite that India is fighting for a foothold in the international market, stronger factors tend to play a spoilsport with the country affecting the export figures considerably.