Special Correspondent

It has been attributed to the decline in the area under mulberry cultivation

Silk production in State fell by 1,000 tonnes in 2008-09

Number of small-scale reeling units has also come down

BANGALORE: Minister for Sericulture and Small-scale Industries Venkataramanappa on Thursday said the area under mulberry cultivation in the State had declined sharply on account of farmers selling fertile lands to real estate developers in silk-producing districts.

Addressing presspersons here, he said sericulturists had sold lands in Bangalore Rural, Ramanagara, Mysore, Tumkur and Kolar districts to real estate developers with an intention of getting high prices.

Officials in the department said silk production in the State had come down by 1,000 tonnes in 2008-09 to reach 7,238 tonnes against the 8,240 tonnes recorded during 2007-08. Karnataka used to account for almost two-thirds of the country’s silk production until a decade ago.

In the last few years, silk production in the State was less than 50 per cent of the country’s output. The State’s silk output for 2008-09 was 7,238 tonnes as against the country’s production of 18,370 tonnes.

The Minister attributed the fall in silk production to the decline in the area under mulberry cultivation. The total area under mulberry cultivation in the State declined to 77,329 hectares during 2008-09 from 91,434 hectares the previous year.

Rapid urbanisation in traditional mulberry-growing regions such as Devanahalli, Anekal, Vijaypura, Kolar, and other areas in and around Mysore district had led to decline in mulberry cultivation. The number of small-scale reeling units in the State had also come down, he said.

To eliminate the role of middlemen in the cocoon market, the department would install video cameras at the Ramanagara market, which would record all transactions, including the price and weight. A complex would be constructed at Oklipuram in Bangalore for housing all offices of the department, Mr. Venkataramanappa added.