Sericulture is an agro based labour intensive industry. The climatic conditions of the state are adequately congenial for the growth of this industry. It provides subsidiary occupation to the people belonging to poor section of the society.
The ambitious Special Sericulture Project launched in Hamirpur district has added new dimension to the activities relating to Sericulture and caught the fancy of around 1000 BPL families. One may wonder that by working for only 40 days in a year, how a family can earn upto Rs. 20,000. The overwhelming success of this project has come as a pleasant surprise to many a people.
The Rs. 9.13 crore project envisages to supplement the income of 1000 IRDP families in all the six developmental blocks of Hamirpur district. About 865 BPL families have been covered so far. The construction of 1000 rearing huts for silk worms in the district for beneficiaries and distribution of rearing equipments has also been taken up.
The silk production is as old as 3,500 years and was introduced in India about 2,000 years ago through Popular Silk route between Tibet and Kinnaur. Although the Sericulture has been prevalent in Himachal Pradesh through traditional methods, however, no organized efforts were made to take up silk production as a means of livelihood. The silk production could not take off in the state because of lack of awareness about the technology apart from little attention for growing mulberry trees. In order to promote the growing of mulberry plants, S-146 variety of mulberry was obtained from Dehradoon and raised by the beneficiaries on wastelands and private lands. An amount of Rs. 40,000 has been given to each family for making sheds for the rearing of silk worms. Apart from this practical training for one month was also given to the beneficiaries. As many as 15 training and demonstration camps in each block have been organized so far. However, till the completion of the project, total number of 150 camps will be organized in each block.
The Poverty Alleviation through Special Sericulture Project has been launched in Naduan, Sujanpur, Bamson, Blocks Bijri, Hamirpur and Bhoranj. The period of silk production is only 20 days in March and April and another 20 days in September and October. In order to provide mulberry saplings to the growers for nurseries has been raised at Nadaun and Gunal Pathar. 15 private nurseries have also been raised. As many as 5,91,000 plants have been distributed of mulberry among 1000 families. Not only this, 4 lac plants of mulberry are yet to be distributed. The mulberry plants are being grown on waste-lands and each plant is grown on an area of 5×5 sq. feet. The DRDA has also set up 4 Technical Service Stations at Bohni, Naduan, Salasi and Bijri to extend assistance of the beneficiaries. Apart from this, there are 3 Monitoring Centres functioning at Nadaun, Bhoranj and Balh-Vihar.
During the last 4 years, the total production has been registered at 21,634 Kilogrammes, the total turnover of which comes to 18.57 lacs. The project has come as a great boon for increasing the production of bi-voltine, cocoon through increased mulberry wealth in the district by way of establishing of new mulberry plantation and re-juvination and replacement of mulberry trees. Market centres at approachable centre places have also been established for the disposal of silk raw material through marketing intervention scheme. The project has been launched through Self Help Groups for the BPL families. The individual beneficiaries belonging to small and marginal farmers, neoliterates, Mahila-Mandals and Yuvak Mandals have also been covered under the project.
A Reeling unit has also been set up in private sector at Naduan. Earlier, the cocoon producers had to sell off the cocoons to outsider purchasers from West Bangal and other States. With the setting up of Reeling unit the growers will be facilitated to sell their entire Cocoon production to the Reeling unit. This will also help in eliminating the concept of middleman. At present the market price of 1 kg cocoon of A-grade quality is around Rs.300. Needless to say, the Project has brought smiles on the faces of BPL families who earlier had to satisfy with their limited and low income only.
Feature via Himachal PR deptt.