Central Tasar Research & Training Institute, Nagri, Ranchi – 835 303, Jharkhand, INDIA
Received………………, Revised ……………………….
Abstract : Post Indian independence (after 1950) witnessed interesting changes in the world silk production. Though China with 76324 MT (79% of the total world’s 96994 MT) raw silk production during the year 2003) dominated the scene, a number of big players like Japan, Republic of Korea, USSR and Brazil have drastically reduced silk production to divert their energy in other lucrative fields like electronic goods, which provide better foreign exchange. India, the second largest silk producer in the world, traveled through unique features in this regard. Being sole country to produce all four types of commercially exploited silks (Mulberry, Tasar, Eri and Muga), it is the biggest consumer of raw silk (about 26000 MT utilized during 2001 of which 92% was mulberry). The demand of raw silk in India is still more.
Due to hard pressure on agricultural land, mulberry area in India has reached saturation and even its declining trend has been seen during the past few years (172000 ha as against 331237 ha during 1991). Wild silk including Tasar, Eri and Muga, though produced in comparatively small quantities (322, 1448 and 110 MT respectively during 2004) has high potential of expansion in view of availability of vast natural host plants and scope of their expansion in waste land. Besides, Tasar silk, of late, has been graded as better than mulberry silk in many aspects including cocoon size, porous nature of silk fibre with better luster and natural sheen as also the comfortable fabric. Day by day, reduced per capita land availability and poor employment opportunities in industrial sector due to mechanization pave the way for sericulture, particularly the wild silk production in India, as better avenue to engage people from economically weaker section.