A recent study by Jagadguru Sri Shivarathrishwara (JSS) KVK (Krishi Vigyan Kendra) in Nanjanagud Taluk, Mysore revealed a steady decline in mulberry cultivation area in Mysore district.

The decline was from over 15,000 hectares in 1998 to just about 1,500 hectares in 2013 — nearly 90 per cent.

This drastic slide is has been attributed to fluctuation in cocoon prices and also non-availability and high cost of skilled labourers who remove the outer floss of the cocoons before sending them to the market.

Outer layer

The outer layer of the cocoon is usually covered by a thin, loose layer of floss which hides the cocoon’s beauty. Removal of this layer is an important process before farmers take the product to the market.

The problem is more pronounced in white cocoons (bivoltine) than inyellow cocoons (cross bred worms).

“Cocoons from silkworm rearing are the end products in sericulture which fetch a regular income. Traditionally silkworm farmers used to defloss the cocoons by hand before sending them to the market. The way a cocoons looks is quite important to get a good price from the reelers,” says Mr. Arun Balamatti, Programme Coordinator, JSS Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Suttur.

Though there are some cocoon deflossing devices available in the market today, their cost is quite high and the efficiency leaves a lot to be desired. An innovative sericulture farmer, Mr. Malaih from Alambur munti, in Nanjangud taluk, Mysore district hasdeveloped a simpler and cheaper device for this process.

Improvisation

Initially he fitted a 10 mm iron rod to a table and connected it to a bicycle. By peddling the cycle the rod can be rotated which in turn would defloss the cocoons. As this machine required labour for peddling, Mr.Malaih thought of powering this with a 0.25 HP motor and improvised on the machine by attaching a wire mesh.

There was also some problem with the iron rod as it used to get stuck while being run due to the uneven thickness of the cocoon.

Different sized cocoons

Not all cocoons are of the same size in a batch as cocoons come in different sizes. So the farmer tried using a six mm stainless steel rod and found after some trials that it runs well without getting stuck. Says the farmer about his machine, “It is simple to operate, portable and can remove about 80 kg of floss a day.”

“Many sericulture farmers are getting attracted to this machine and the demand is growing for this device. Till date Mr.Malaih has sold over 500 such devices, priced at Rs. 5,000 a piece, in Mysore, Chamarajangar and Mandya districts,” says Mr. Balamatti.

Advantages

Advantages of the device developed by the farmer over the ones presently available in the market are: it is easier to operate and saves times since it has double the capacity i.e., it can defloss 80 kg of cocoons compared to 40 kg by other machines.

It is smooth and steady in its operation and there are no stoppages while operating.

It is available at a price five times lesser than the ones in the market with double the efficiency. It is motor-operated and even unskilled persons can operate this device easily, according to Mr. Balamatti.

Exhibited

JSS KVK has identified this innovation and popularised the device among many sericulture farmers in the district.

This device was also exhibited in the Kisan Melas organised by Central Sericulture Research and Training Institute (CSR&TI), Mysore and demonstrated to ICAR scientists at the National Farm Innovators Meet held at Suttur in 2010.

For more information contact Mr. Malaih, Alambur munti, Nanjangud taluk, Mysore district, mobile: 09343871990 and Mr. Arun Balamatti, Programme Coordinator, JSS Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Suttur: 571129, Nanjanagud taluk, Mysore,email: arun_balamatti@yahoo.com and ,mobiles: 09686666490 and 09448832186.