Srinagar, May 26 (KNO): Jammu Kashmir is witnessing a sharp decline in cocoon production in the last few years due to constant financial losses.
In the last five years, the number of farmers associated with silk rearing has declined thereby downed the cocoon production.
Sources said that if efforts won't be taken at the earliest, the industry will collapse as farmers have been facing losses due to unavailability of proper technical guidance.
They said as leaves are being damaged by insects and pests due to which farmers are unable to maintain quality and produce more cocoon.
Farmers complained they aren't being provided technical guidance as they don't have skills and there is need to create awareness camps and workshop to guide silk rearers.
Farmers said that due to unavailability of quality leaves, silk worms, trainings and less scientific intervention along technical guidance farmers have been facing losses and several farmers have already switched to other businesses.
A top official of the department told that during 2017-18, over 27,181 farmers were associated with cocoon rearing in thereby producing 893 metric tons of cocoons and generating an income of about Rs 22.337 crore.
However, in year 2018-19, the number of farmers declined to 25,000, thereby producing 790 metric tons (MT) and generating revenue of Rs 23.486 crore.
An official said that in the year 2019-20, the number of farmers further declined to around 24,000 and the production increased to around 810 metric tons (MT) and Rs 17.845 crore revenue was generated.
He said that during 2020-21, due to Covid-19 pandemic the number of farmers declined to around 22,000 thereby producing just 563 MT of cocoons and generating only Rs 12.183 crore.
However, in 2021-22, the number of farmers increased again to around 25,000, thereby 694 MT of cocoons and generating an amount of Rs 17.185 crore.
In year 2021-22, the number of farmers increased again and there was marginal increase in production and income as well, he said.
“About 70 percent of cocoons are exported to other states while only 30 percent buyers are locals,” he added.
“The Jammu and Kashmir government has already approved an ambitious project worth Rs 91 crore for the revival and revitalization of the silk industry in the UT through technological interventions,” he said.
“The number of farmers has started to increase as under this project, they are getting every facility free of cost, he said.
“1700 rearing sheds costing around 2.15 lakhs each have been sanctioned and farmers will have give just 10 percent (labour component) while 90 percent it will be free for them and steps for disease management and technical guidance free of cost will be given to farmers,” he added.
According to the government, the sericulture department has 173 mulberry nurseries spread over an area of 963 acres, and 374 mulberry blocks over an area of 2215 acres spread across the UT.