PERSPECTIVE PLAN FOR SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Through Sericulture at Cooch Behar
SERICULTURE is an Agro-based Cottage Industry which deals with production of smooth and glittering natural fibre Silk “Queen of Textiles’. The silk is obtained through a unique biological process of Silkworms.
Sericulture in Cooch Behar district is popular for development of rural economy by providing development of infrastructures, supply of start up tools, supply of inputs, supply of planting materials, disease-free seeds in subsidised rate, support for Crop Insurance, Health Insurance Support, support for irrigation, remodeling of existing rearing house, facilities for training, exposures visit to farmers, supply of reeling & twisting machines and many other items in Pre & Post Cocoon sector under different schemes viz. Special State Plan, Catalytic Development Programme, MGNREGS, RKVY etc.
This district has successfully introduced rearing of multi and improved Mul-voltine Mulberry Silkworms breeds of seed crops in summer seasons to ensure supply of Improved Mulberry based crossbreed disease-free layings for summer commercial crops to the districts of South & East zones and also encourages Bi-voltine based cross-breed silkworm rearing to obtain warp grade hybrid silk mainly through the organized network of progressive farmers. While the farmer will continue to promote the cause of poverty alleviation, employment generation and subsistence farming, the later would go on commercial line. The emphasis will actually be on the vertical growth through productivity and process improvement.
As regards non mulberry (Muga) it proposes for development of integrated farming system for host plants, encouraging private Graineurs to enhance dfls supply, establishment of economic plantation of Persea bombycina (Som) under social forestry programme in the district, thrust on post cocoon aspects, encouraging use of motorized reeling cum twisting machines/ spining wheels and increase productivity and efficiency of women users.
Thus, the goal of perspective planning is to place a sound and sustaining system that not only facilitates bulk production of quality silk but also helps the industry to be more professional and commercially viable at each stratum in Cooch Behar.
- Popularisation of Muga Culture, Muga Reeling and Spinning activities to enhance the income of downtrodden people in rural areas specially for women.
- Popularisation of Mulberry cultivation, silkworms rearing in agriculturally unsuitable land to provide income for rural people.
- Encourage the members of Self Help Groups to earn in Sericulture activities.
PRESENT STATUS OF MUGA CULTURE AT COOCH BEHAR
Muga culture i.e. Muga silkworm rearing, silk reeling and weaving are of recent introduction at Cooch Behar, the far off district of West Bengal in comparison to age old tradition of Assam. Under the joint patronization of the State Government, Central Silk Board and the NGO (Non-Government Organisation) it has been recorded significant progress since its introduction during the early nineties. At present, there are about 1800 farmers involved in Muga culture at Cooch Behar with an extent of 780 acres of Muga host plantation, the bulk of which has been established under CDP (Catalytic Development Project). The meager consumption of 6400 nos. dfls by the rearers during 1998-99 is escalated to the tune of 70000 nos. during 2011-12. Proportionate increment in the production of cocoons is recorded to 11 lakhs from 1.67 lakhs during last 5 (five) years. It results in sizeable annual turnover of Rs.10 lakhs (approx.) at Cooch Behar during 2011-12. At present all the reeling cocoons are being converted into twisted muga yarn in the district itself which in turn is disposed to traders from Assam and West Bengal @Rs.8000/- to Rs.8300/- per Kg depending on quality of yarn in annual turnover of about Rs.17 lakhs. Considering its demand in the market, Muga Silk weaving has been introduced in Cooch Behar in smaller scale very recently. The production of muga yarn is expected to increase greatly at the end of XIIth plan period.