The Central Tussar Research and Training Institute at Itki near Ranchi. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Jamshedpur/Ranchi, Jan. 21: Jharkhand might be a new state but as far as tussar cultivation is concerned, it has a lot to teach the rest of the country.
The state, one of the leading producers of tussar silk in the country, will serve as a model. Central Silk Board, Bangalore, has planned to send groups of farmers to Jharkhand for training in tussar cultivation. Though farmers from Orissa and Bengal have visited the state under beneficiary empowerment programme of central government, the board has decided to extend it to other states too.
“The quality and quantity of tussar produce here make the state a role model for others. A few states have also done a study on villages producing tussar silk in the state but we are keen on inviting farmers of other states,” said M. Sathiavathy, member secretary of the board.
Sathiavathy was here in the city to attend joint co-ordination committee meeting of Central Silk Board at Centre for Excellence today.
According to data available with the board, Jharkhand alone produces about 350 metric tonnes of tussar annually while total production in the country is 600 metric tonnes.
Dhirendra Kumar, the managing director of Jharcraft — a state body for development of handlooms, handicrafts and silk — said: “We have worked on quality seed production techniques in all the villages producing tussar in the state. The multiplication of seeds is what we have focused on but we have not left out quality. Tussar produced in Jharkhand is now certified by OneCert, a US-based organic certification.”
However, Jharcraft is all set to establish Elite Seed P4 Station for supply of quality industrial silkworm seeds and transfer of technologies in the field to improve productivity and quality of tussar silk.
The initiative was taken in consultation with Central Tasar Research and Training Institute, Nagri — a unit under Central Silk Board — to supply high quality daba variety of tussar seeds to farmers.
Officials have already identified Singhbhum and Santhal Pargana to set up research stations. “We will set up the stations in Masalia block of Santhal Pargana and Bansai in Chakradharpur, Singhbhum, as these places account for 85 per cent of cocoons production in the state. A granary and research stations would be set up,” said Kumar.
Currently, the state farmers produce 15-20 cocoons from one seed through traditional method in October and November, considered to be period for cocoon production.
After the research stations are set up farmers can produce 180 cocoons per seed. “During cocoons production period (October-November) a farmer can produce 16,000-20,000 cocoons and earn Rs 25,000-Rs 35,000 by selling it in the market,” Kumar added.
He added that the objectives of the scheme was to increase raw silk production in the state, generating employment in rural pockets as well as upgrade of silk industry in the state.