Initiatives launched to boost sericulture in Belgaum

Staff Correspondent

Eight silk farms, technical service centres have been set up

Annual production of mulberry has been over 200 tonnesSubsidies of Rs. 25,000 each provided to SC/ST farmers

BELGAUM: The Union and State governments have launched several initiatives to motivate farmers to take up silk farming in the district. According to official sources here, while silk farming is a highly remunerative option for farmers, they need to be provided with proper assistance and technical training in order to be motivated to take it up on a larger scale. The Sericulture Department had sufficient staff to monitor the development and progress of sericulture activities in each village, the sources said.

They said that at present, only 973 farmers in 277 villages were involved in silk farming in the district, in which mulberry is grown on 440 hectares of land. The annual production of mulberry in the district had been more than 200 tonnes since 2004.

The sources said that eight silk farms had been set up in Hirebagewadi, Hidkal, Saundatti, Khanapur, Gokak, Kanakanwadi, Ainapur and Ramdurg, where production of improved varieties of mulberry and of basic seed cocoons was being carried out. The State Government had also set up a supply centre in Hindalga near Belgaum city at which disease-free silkworm eggs were being sold to silk farmers. Technical service centres had also been set up in Athani, Belgaum, Chikkodi, Gokak, Raibag and Saundatti, the sources said.

The Government was also providing subsidies of Rs. 25,000 each to economically weak people from the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, for taking up silk farming.

Training programmes were being conducted for women, to help them seek self-employment, and they were each being given a stipend of Rs. 500 during the training period, the sources said.

Nationalised banks were extending credit facilities to silk farmers, they added.