AP Working On Five-year Plan To Boost Eri Culture

Hyderabad, Sept 28: | Updated: Sep 29 2003, 05:30am hrs
In a move to boost eri silk production, which was hitherto produced only in the North-Eastern states, the Andhra Pradesh state sericulture department is working on a five-year programme to boost ericulture. Out of the four leading silk worms commercially exploited for silk mulberry, tasar, eri and muga eri silkworm is the non-mulberry species and eri silk production has increased from 0.814 mt to 1.26 mt over the last five years.

The project is executed by the Central Silk Board, ministry of textiles and implemented by the department of sericulture, Andhra Pradesh government besides Directorate of Oil Seeds Research, Acharya NG Ranga University of Agricultural Sciences, Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), National Institute of Nutrition, weavers service centres and a few NGOs.

For effective execution of the project, a Project Management Board has been executed from the sericulture department. The total cost of the ericulture project is estimated about Rs 3.7 crores to be used in a phased manner over a period of five years. The hectares to be covered is about 1,500 with four farm-cum-grainages to be developed in this project, according to sericulture department officials.

The proposed ericulture project will be implemented in Mehboobnagar, Nalgonda and East Godavari districts in view of the large availability of large extent of castor and tapioca plantation in these districts. The test trials have already been experimented in these three districts for the development of eri silk industry in the state. Besides cultivation, skill upgradation, technological support flor pre and post cocoon activities, market promotions, forward and backward linkages and create a niche for eri products in both domestic and export markets.

Tracing the history of eri silkworm, which is the only non-mulberry silkworm species, it feeds mostly on castor and tapioca. The state ranks second in the area under castor production in the drought-prone regions of Mehboobnagar.

Out of 25 per cent of the leaves can be used for eri cultivation. This can help a farmer to get an additional income of Rs 4,000 per acre along with the castor seed production income.

The total output per annum after the project period is estimated about 1,50,000 kg of eri pupae, 19,200 kg of spun yarn and 24,000 kg of cut cocoon, the officials said. The project beneficiaries mostly comprise the weavers, spinners to develop eri silk industry in the state. The department will procure the basic seed and take up rearing activities and supply commercial seed for the commercial rearers as eri culture is new to the state. Efforts are also made in the state to establish direct linkage with large spun silk mills and produce different types of spun yarn. During the second phase of the project, a non-eroding corpus fund is made under the project to ensure the assured quality linked purchase of eri cut cocoons, added the department officials.