A one-stop web-enabled solution for silk farmers of the country was launched today.
SILKS (Sericulture, Information Linkages and Knowledge System) was inaugurated by Ishita Roy, member secretary of Central Silk Board, Bangalore, today through video conferencing.
It is expected to go a long way in addressing the needs and problems of silk farmers in the country.
“This should be used as a tool for decision making and states should start working on a sericulture roadmap,” she said.
Scientists from across the country attended the programme held at the North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC) here.
States of the Northeast made presentations today while other states will do so tomorrow.
SILKS will give farmers information and advice on techniques of rearing silkworm; the improved varieties, diseases and pest management of silkworm food plants; processing of cocoons, and other allied knowledge through Internet and satellite-based communication.
It also aims to provide such services in formats and languages appropriate for local authorities.
An important objective of the system is to find out additional area available for sericulture as the current production of about 23,000 tonnes is not enough to meet the demand of silk in the country, which is about 30,000 tonnes.
“There is tremendous scope for improving the production and quality of silk by identifying additional potential areas and employing improved methods of information collection, processing and dissemination,” a Central Silk Board official said.
A plethora of organisations are involved in the development of silk industry in the country but no reliable information on the potential area suitable for silkworm food plants is available at the district level.
Giving a detailed presentation of the status and scope of the project, NESAC director S. Sudhakar said there would be detailed mapping at the village/panchayat level, identification of hotspots and disease forecasting.
“The estimates are in the final stages of compilation in selected states of the country and will be released soon,” an official from NESAC said.
Roy said information on additional area should be sent to the Central Silk Board as soon as it is available, as it would help them plan for the sericulture sector and get additional funds.
SILKS is the result of a project, Applications of Remote Sensing and GIS in Sericulture Development, taken up by the Central Silk Board in collaboration with NESAC during the Eleventh Plan.
Altogether 106 districts in the country, of which 41 are in the Northeast, were covered under the project.
Nine parameters of climate and soil were chosen to find out the additional area, which will be broadly classified as suitable and unsuitable.
Former NESAC director P. Nageswara Rao, in whose time the project had started, said educated farmers should be able to benefit from it.
M.P. Barthakur, director sericulture department, Assam, said this tool would help the department plan for future. “The content should be in local languages,” she said.
P. Bhattacharya, director, textile and sericulture, West Bengal, said India has to do a lot to catch up with China in the silk sector.
“We produce only one-fifth of what China does though we are the second in the world,” he said.