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Updated: September 21, 2013 15:16 IST

Silk Mark Expo begins in Madurai

Staff Reporter
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The Silk Mark Expo. Photo: S. James
The Hindu
The Silk Mark Expo. Photo: S. James

Silk Mark Expo, organised by the Silk Mark Organisation of India (SMOI), in which silk manufacturers and traders from 13 states are participating, was inaugurated by t Collector L. Subramanian at P T Rajan Hall here on Friday afternoon.

“Publicising the ‘Silk Mark,’ a certification issued after quality checks, will create awareness among people to buy only pure silk. This will also control the unscrupulous trade practice of cheating customers into buying low-quality silk products at high prices,” said D. Kirubagaran, Deputy Secretary at the Central Silk Board. About the rising prices of silk products,

Mr.Kirubagaran said the scant rainfall in the State for the last two years had affected production and led to price escalation.

“A kilogram of silk costs Rs.4,000, and on an average, 600 grams of silk is needed to weave a sari. There are additional costs too, and that is why prices are rising,” he pointed out.

In Tamil Nadu, the fourth largest silk producer in the country, there are 470 silk saree producers and 16,420 silk farmers. The first three positions are occupied by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala in that order. India was the only country to produce all five types of silk – Mulberry, Tasar, Oak Tasar, Eri and Muga Silk, he noted.

A stall has been set aside at the expo to showcase the silk production process from the worms being reared to the weaving of silk on a small scale.

“This has been put together so that people can see how silkis produced and learn about the different types” said G Vijayalakshmi, a Technical Assistant with the Central Silk Board of India, Samayanallur Madurai.

“Around 95 per cent of the silk used in silk products is Mulberry silk and is also the most preferred by customers. There is now a general increase in interest for ‘Vanya’ silk, the term used to collectively refer to non-mulberry silk”, she said.

The expo has stalls showcasing silk sarees, shirts ties and bags, all of which have been certified with the ‘Silk Mark’. “Apart from the traditional sarees with intricate ‘Zari’ work which we all stock, printed silk sarees are finding favour with young women who want to wear something lightweight and simple” said a saree merchant from Karnataka.

When asked about the scenario of silk production in Madurai, Mr Kirubagaran said that it is yet to pick up.

“Production is still happening only on a small scale across 99 hectares of land in the district. We are looking to increase production across the country and by the year 2017, we anticipate the production of 23,000 tonnes of silk” he concluded.

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