Shimla, January 7
Following the footsteps of Assam and Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal is planning to venture into the production of oak tussar and eri silk in a big way with large castor and oak plantations growing naturally in various parts of the state.
Officials visit Assam, J&K
Officials of the sericulture wing visited Assam and Jammu and Kashmir last month to study the production of eri and oak silk as many parts of our state have similar agro climatic conditions. Rakesh Prajapati, Director, Industries
Though so far about 10,500 farmers in Himachal are into the cultivation of shehtoot (mulberry) which gives fine quality silk, the state is now keen on venturing into the production of eri silk, 90 per cent of which is produced by Assam alone. Efforts are on to also tap the potential for oak silk, primarily produced by Jammu and Kashmir.
“Officials of the sericulture wing visited Assam and Jammu and Kashmir last month to study the production of eri and oak silk as many parts of our state have similar agro climatic conditions,” said Rakesh Prajapati, Director, Industries. He said oak silk could help supplement the income of farmers.
The fact that both eri and oak silk can be blended very well with pashmina and wool will only add value addition to Himachali handicrafts and enhance their quality and price. “Vast areas in Bilaspur, Solan, Kangra and Una districts have natural castor cultivation which is the main food for eri silk worms. Encouraging farmers to take to eri silk cultivation will help supplement their income,” says Baldev Chauhan, Deputy Director, Sericulture wing of the Industries Department.
Chauhan along with a team of officials had also visited Srinagar to see how oak silk was being reared. There is potential for cultivation of oak silk in higher reaches of districts of Shimla, Mandi and banjar area of Kullu. A Research Extension Centre of the Central Silk Board at Palampur is undertaking research in exploring possibility of cultivating oak tussar and eri silk. — TNS