Sericulture farmers left high and dry as cocoon prices crash

Published - July 15, 2018 12:26 am IST - MYSURU

Slump in cocoon prices attributed to poor demand for raw silk.

Slump in cocoon prices attributed to poor demand for raw silk.

Ravi K., a sericulture farmer from Ramanagaram, who used to sell his superior quality bivoltine hybrid cocoons for ₹550 a kg till about two months ago, is a disappointed man. His new crop of cocoons is fetching him barely ₹320 a kg at the market in Ramanagaram.

The slump in price of cocoons — both crossbreed and bivoltine hybrid — has left farmers in the sericulture-intensive Mysuru, Mandya, Ramanagaram and adjoining areas high and dry.

So much so that farmers in Ramanagaram, one of the two Assembly constituencies from where Chief Minister H.D. Kumarasamy contested and won, have threatened an indefinite fast if the State government does not intervene and provide support price for their cocoons. “If the government does not come to our rescue before July 21, we will go ahead with our agitation,” said Gautham Gowda, president of the Ramanagaram District Sericulture Farmers’ Welfare Association.

Officials at the cocoon market in Ramanagaram admitted that the prices had collapsed over the last month. Deputy Director of Sericulture, Ramanagaram, Munishi Basaiah told The Hindu that senior officials of the department have been apprised of the situation.

The decline in prices has been attributed to poor demand for raw silk. “About 35% of the reelers are staying away from the cocoon market as the demand for silk from weavers has come down drastically. Since April, the price of raw silk has dropped from between ₹3,800 and ₹4,000 to between ₹2,000 and ₹2,600 a kg,” said an official in the Sericulture Department.

The exact reason for the slump in demand for raw silk is a subject of conjecture among stakeholders. But industry experts have ruled out the possibility of imported Chinese silk causing the plunge in demand and price of indigenous silk, as the price of Chinese silk is still more than ₹5,000 a kg.

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