Piles of unsold raw silk posing a problem

Around 7,000 reelers in the State had produced over 2,500 tonnes of raw silk during the last two months.

Around 7,000 reelers in the State had produced over 2,500 tonnes of raw silk during the last two months.   | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

Reelers say they have no money to purchase fresh stock of cocoons

The nationwide lockdown has led to huge quantities of unsold raw silk piling up with reelers across Karnataka.

Unable to find a market for an estimated 2,500 tonnes of raw silk during the last two months, the reelers claim they are left with no money to make fresh purchase of cocoons, a situation that is worrying for sericulture farmers.

With marriages and other ceremonies being cancelled, the demand for saris and other silk garments has plummeted. Most of the powerlooms, handlooms and weaving industries also stopped operations.

Karnataka, which accounts for almost half of the raw silk produced in the country, saw the demand from other States fall steeply owing to the ban on transportation.

“When we have not been able to sell any silk for last two months, we have no money now. With so much of silk in stock, how do we raise money to buy more cocoons,” lamented Mohammed Muheeb Pasha, president of Karnataka State Silk Reelers’ Association. An estimated 7,000 reelers in the State, who are mostly concentrated in Ramanagaram, Siddlaghatta and Kollegal, had produced more than 2,500 tonnes of raw silk during the last two months.

The situation turned so serious that the reelers boycotted the cocoon markets on Saturday. About 100 tonnes of cocoons are sold across 44 cocoon markets across the State every day, and hundreds of farmers had to return without selling the cocoons.

The State government, meanwhile, released ₹20 crore to the Karnataka Silk Marketing Board (KSMB) to purchase raw silk from the reelers. Though the reelers returned to the cocoon markets on Sunday, the authorities are hoping for a lasting solution to clear the huge stockpiles. N.Y. Chigari, CEO of Koppa Sericulture Farmers’ Producer Company Ltd., Maddur, Union government enterprise, told The Hindu that the bulk of the raw silk, produced in the State, is purchased by traders who supply to end-users like weavers, powerlooms and handlooms.

Steps should be taken by the State government to supply raw silk directly to customers in Karnataka and outside, he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Sericulture, Ramanagaram, Munshi Basaiah, who held a meeting with reelers on Saturday, said the State government has directed KSMB to purchase upto 30 k.g. every week from each reeler, besides permitting them to pledge the silk for an amount upto ₹2 lakh.

“Though we had sought ₹150 crore, ₹50 crore has been sanctioned out of which ₹20 crore has been released,” Mr Basaiah said.

The Ramanagaram Sericulture Farmers’ Association President Gautham Gowda welcomed the State government’s move, but expressed concern over the price of cocoons, which had plummeted from about ₹550 to ₹600 per kg a few months ago to around ₹250 per kg at present.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 9:56:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/piles-of-unsold-raw-silk-posing-a-problem/article31609746.ece

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