Kolkata: With the state witnessing a nine-fold increase in the production of bivoltine silk in the past seven years, the state government is targeting to extend the cultivation of raw silk on a new area of 1,620 acres in the 2018-19 fiscal.
In the 2017-18 financial year, the area of plantation for the same was increased by 1,733 acres and it resulted in an yield of 2,540 metric tonne (MT) mulberry, 34.50 MT tasar, 2.60 MT eri and 185 kg muga raw silk.
Asish Banerjee, the state Agriculture minister, held a high level meeting with senior officials of the directorate of sericulture, that falls under his department.
Pradip Mazumdar, advisor to the Chief Minister on agriculture, was also present in the meeting in which there was discussion on various issues of sericulture.
The Agriculture minister said the production targets for raw silk in 2018-19 are 2,575 MT mulberry, 46 MT tasar, 6 MT eri and 400 kg muga. "We are taking all necessary steps to ensure the same," he said, adding that infrastructure including 898 rearing houses, 147 vermi-compost sheds and 10 cocoon storage buildings were developed to extend support to silk farmers in 2017-18.
Giving a breakup of the 1,620 acres of land that will be brought under sericulture in 2018-19, Banerjee said 1,000 acres will be for mulberry, 400 acres for tasar, 70 acres for muga and 150 acres for eri.
Large areas of land in districts including West Midnapore, Jhargram, Purulia, Bankura and Birbhum in Jungalmahal have been brought under tasar cultivation in 2017-18, where 18,040 people were benefitted.
It may be mentioned that the bivoltine silk production in 2012-13 was 7.16 MT and it has gone up to 36 MT in 2017-18.
An issue related to the problems that silk farmers are facing also came up in the meeting and it includes the problems that silk farmers are facing in Murshidabad and some parts of Nadia, where pesticides spread on vegetables are adversely affecting the silk cultivation within 1.5 kilometres.
The state Agriculture department will be organising a symposium, in which officials of agriculture, horticulture and sericulture sections will be present.
Representative of silk-farmers will also be attending the symposium.