Experts and scientists, speaking at a seminar on sericulture organized by the Punjab's Department of Horticulture, said the silk manufactured in the state is of excellent quality and can be tagged as 'Punjab Silk' just like Kashmir Silk or South Indian Silk.
However, due to unawareness and inadequate marketing, the potential of the state's silk still remains unexploited, they said.
Next to China, India is the second largest producer of silk, with an annual output of 20,000 MT silk, against total requirement of 30,000 MT.
According to the experts, Punjab, which each year takes two crops to produce 32,000 kg silk cocoons, can double its productivity by developing four to five crops per year, with climatic conditions in the Kandi regions of Hoshiarpur, Rupnagar and Pathankot also being favourable for the same.
Speaking at the seminar, J&K's Pampore based Central Sericultural Research and Training Institute's (CSRTI) Director Anil Dhar said he was astonished to see mulberry trees massively growing even on the roadsides in the state, which is a good indication as silkworms feed on the leaves of these trees.
He said that the marginal as well as landless farmers can adopt silk farming and make good money as mulberry leaves is all that they need to feed silk worms.
The state can also engage in production of Eri silk, which is produced from a different variety of worm that feeds on Arandi or castor leaves, which are abundantly found in the Kandi region, he added.
Rather than cocoon, the state should sell silk, so that it can develop a new 'Punjab Silk' brand, Surinder Bhatt from Silk Conditioning Testing House (SCTH) Miran Sahib, Jammu, said.
Punjab Horticulture Director Lajwinder Singh revealed that at present only about 1,100 farmers in Kandi region engage in silk worm rearing and that too as a secondary occupation. Their collective turnover comes to Rs. 6.4 million per annum, that is, an average income of Rs. 6,000 per person per annum. However, this productivity can be doubled with some improvisation in current technique, he added.
At the seminar, some large-scale sericulturists sought setting up of a Seed Farm Centre at Talwara, and establishment of drying chambers for cocoon drying, which would help in reduction of the damage.
Deepinder Singh, Deputy Commissioner, promised the farmers to place their demands before appropriate authorities, and added that they would soon identify the land which they can take on lease for establishing the seed farm centre.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India