Nepal quake gives a jolt to farmers as cocoon prices crash

The devastating earthquake in Nepal, coming quick on the heels of reduction in import duty on raw silk, has hit the farmers in Karnataka hard by bringing down the cocoon prices suddenly.

The cocoon markets at Shidlaghatta and Ramanagaram, the largest and second largest markets in Asia, export a huge quantity of raw silk to Nepal. However, the quake has meant cocoon buyers suspending the import temporarily.

Import duty cut

This has happened even as the Union government brought down import duty on raw silk from 15 per cent to 10 per cent, prompting buyers to opt for cheap imports from China.

The price of Cross Breeds (CB) variety cocoon, which was hovering between Rs. 250 and Rs. 300 a kg a few weeks ago, slid to Rs. 120 and Rs. 170 a kg at the Government Cocoon Market in Channapatna on Sunday.

Angry farmers lodged their protest by blocking the Bengaluru–Mysuru highway on Sunday, affecting traffic for nearly an hour. Similar protest was held at Kanakapura on Saturday in which sericulture farmers dumped cocoons on the road against the sudden crash in the procurement price of silk cocoons.

The farmers said they were not getting even half of their investment, blaming it on the Union government’s policy.

The farmers raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for failing to safeguard their interests.

What is adding to their woes is also the policy of the Tamil Nadu government. The Tamil Nadu government — in order to encourage handloom weavers — has banned the use of pure silk in power looms. As silk saris were not allowed to be produced in power loom, weavers from that State have stopped buying cocoons from Karnataka, said reelers at Channapatna.

The sericulture farmers can survive only if they get a price of Rs. 250 – Rs. 300 for the CB breed and Rs. 350– Rs. 400 a kg for Bivoltine variety, according to Mohammed Mustafa, a cocoon buyer at Ramanagaram.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 4:00:36 PM |

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