The Telegraph
Tuesday , November 23 , 2010
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Time to weave a cocoon of silken dreams
- Muga and eri silkworms show consistent rise in cluster programmes in northeastern hubs

Jorhat, Nov. 22: The Central Muga, Eri Research and Training Institute (CMERTI) at Lahdoigarh in Jorhat district has good news for the silk industry in the state.

A crop review meeting has revealed a consistent increase of muga and eri cocoons under its cluster promotion programme being implemented in Assam since 2008-09.

The director of the institute, R.K. Rajan, said, “The average production of muga seed cocoons had increased by 16.4 per cent in 2008-09 followed by 41.7 per cent in 2009-10 and 35.3 per cent in 2010-11. Similarly, production of muga reeling cocoons has also increased by 39 per cent in 2008-09 and 43 per cent in 2009-10 in the muga clusters. The production of reeling cocoon in the April-May crop season of 2010 was found to have increased by 14.3 per cent over the benchmarks,” Rajan said.

The director said, “The summer seed crops this year and last year had been badly affected by adverse climatic conditions. As a result, a huge shortage of seeds had occurred in the subsequent commercial crop season during October and November in both the years.”

Giving out the figures of cocoon production in the eri cluster programme, Rajan said, “The increase had been 6.7 per cent, 10.8 per cent and 31.2 per cent over the benchmark in 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively. In the same way, mulberry cocoon production has also increased over the benchmark by 7.4 per cent in 2008-09 followed by 19.1 per cent in 2009-10 and 12.8 per cent in 2010-11 in the mulberry cluster promotion programme.”

In the Northeast, the Central Silk Board (CSB), under which CMERTI operates, in coordination with the state department of sericulture, has implemented the cluster promotion programmes in Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland and also at Cooch Behar in West Bengal.

This has been implemented to boost the productivity of muga, eri and mulberry silk through effective technology dissemination in the potential pockets of sericulture in the region.

The director added, “The institute has been implementing four muga, three eri and one mulberry cluster in different locations through its research extension centre since 2008-09.”

Single muga clusters are located at Golaghat and Lakhimpur districts of Assam, one in West Garo Hills of Meghalaya and another at Cooch Behar.

The eri cluster programmes are located at Udalguri district of Bodoland Territorial Council and Dimapur district of Nagaland.

The only mulberry cluster programme has been implemented in Assam’s Darrang district. The programme provides the farmers with financial assistance for plantation development, rearing house, grain house, and appliances for rearing.

“We are happy the cluster approach for technology intervention through financial support to farmers has proved to be effective and boosts the overall productivity in sericulture,” Rajan said.

Under the project, CSB has provided 80 per cent share of the total project costs while state governments and beneficiaries have shared 10 per cent each in the northeastern states.

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