Discuss the practice of Sericulture in Assam .
Ans : Sericulture in Assam :- Assam is the gateway to the north-east, a state known for its breathtaking scenic beauty, rarest flora and fauna, lofty green hills, vast rolling plain, mighty waterways and a land of fairs and festivals.
Assam not only has a fertile alluvial plain for growing rice, but also is famous for tea and a great resource of minerals and oil. Nature has ungrudgingly blessed Assam with an abundance of scenic grandeur, a wealth of rare and near-extinct wildlife.
“Silk” is a continuous protein filament secreted by particular types of insects (sericigenous) commonly known as silkworms. The liquid silk ejected by the silkworms becomes the fibre when exposed to air which is used to create the fabulous silk. Silk constitutes about 3% of the world textile trade. More than 30 countries produce silk, and India’s share in global raw silk production is nearly 17.5% behind China (79.10%).
“Sericulture” has been practised in the State from time immemorial, and the State is proud of traditionally producing Muga, Eri, and Mulberry silks. Muga culture is endemic to erstwhile Assam and is the largest producer of Golden Muga silk in the world. Though Assam produces all the 4 varieties of silk, yet major emphases have been given in production of Muga and Eri Silk which are popularly a “Vanya Silk” .
Assam contributes 95% and 65% of country’s total Muga and Eri production respectively.
Assam is known for producing all the four types of silk. “Muga culture” is mainly distributed in the districts of Kamrup, Goalpara, Udalguri, Kokrajhar, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Lakhimpur & Dhemaji.
Eri silk is produced across the state especially in Kamrup, Goalpara, Udalguri, Darang, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Nagaon, Morigaon, Darrang, Cachar, Karbi Anglong, Dima Hasao (North Cachar Hills), Kokrajhar and Dhubri districts.
Production of Mulberry silk has declined over the years and restricted to Jorhat, Golaghat, Sibsagar, Darrang districts etc., whereas Oak Tasar is confined to Dima Hasao (North Cachar hills) and Karbi Anglong districts .
Assam on an average produces about 2000 MT of Eri Silk , about 118 MT of Muga Silk and about 23 MT of Mulberry Silk annually . The total different type of silk worm food plantation available in the state are about 1453 hectares in Som (Muga) , about 825 hectares in Eri , about 720 hectares in Mulberry and abounded wild oak plantation for Tassar in Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong districts .
Conclusion : - Sericulture is a major cottage industry in Assam and in general the culture and production of Eri and Muga Silk is closely associated with rituals and traditions in the state and therefore Sericulture is an important household activity of the people of Assam leading to economic development of large section of population . There are about 10532 villages with an estimated population of about 2.60 lakh families are engaged in Sericulture across the state providing self-employment and livelihood to these families .