CEO & Secretary General Central Silk Board & International Sericultural Commission respectively
Do you suppose that inclusion of silk as forest based activity will help in the development of the industry in India?
The wild silks of our country like Tasar and Muga are forest based activities. There are large patches of Tasar natural food available in many parts of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha which can be used for tasar silkworm rearing. This can be done without disturbing the biodiversity. In the same manner, large tracks of forest land can be cultivated with muga food plants for the benefit of tribal and forest dwellers of Assam and other potential areas.
Indian scientists are researching on machines that can increase the production of silk. Can you give an insight into what developments have been done in this regards so far?
In fact, we have done significant work in this direction for the past two years. For instance, the Automatic Reeling Machines (ARMs) to produce gradable silk were imported from China and Japan. However, CSB through its reputed R&D Institute, namely CSTRI at Bangalore has recently developed an indigenous ARM to produce high quality silk. While the imported ARMs are highly expensive, the indigenous product could significantly reduce the production cost. This has become a major break-through as many of the silk reelers can afford this machine to produce high quality silk.
On the same line, we have also developed few improved machines for tasar and muga silks, which could significantly enhance production as well reduce drudgery. An innovative motorized reeling machine has been developed to increase production, productivity and quality besides reducing wastage and manpower. Wet reeling machines for tasar and muga, sizing machines for tasar silk, modified dry reeling machines for tasar, pressurized hank degumming machines and equipments for recycling silk reeling water have been developed. In addition, 7 technologies have been filed for patenting.
Some of the recent scientific achievements by the R&D Institutes of CSB, namely CSR&TI, Mysore, CTR&TI, Ranchi, etc. in critical areas are as follows:-
*Developed a new mulberry variety with 20% increase in yield,
*Developed 3 bivoltine silkworm breed with yield of 65-70 kgs / 100 dfls.
*Developed a highly productive Improved Cross Breed (ICB) which can produce gradable silk.
*Adopted and popularized eco friendly / automatic disinfection model.
We have also established interface with the industry by taking up crucial collaborative projects. Some of these are:-
*With L'Oreal India on development of eri face mask,
*With Raymonds on silk wool blends,
*With Hitze Equipments Pvt. Ltd., on pupae by product,
*With DuPont Group on tasar cocoon cooking and fabric bio-washing
*Collaborative projects have also been taken up with IITs, Central Coir Research Institute, RMKV, BTRA, Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences on various industrial research applications.
Sustainable practices in sericulture include peace silk, vegetarian silk, or ahimsa silk, wherein the silk is made out of the damaged cocoon after the moth comes out. But to what extent is practice followed in the country?
Eri silk production would rightly fit into the category of peace silk, vegetarian silk, or ahimsa silk. It is significant to note that 16% of the silk produced in the country is from Eri. In line with the past trend, spectacular growth to an enhanced level of 35.94% in eri silk production has been witnessed in the country during last year. This clearly indicates, beyond doubt, that the sustainable practice of ericulture is an economically viable enterprise in the country. At present, ericulture is practised in the NE states of the country. However, ericulture is slowly finding its space in other States like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, etc.
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