Tasar sericulture involves all the activities pertaining to rearing of Tasar silkworm (Antheraea mylitta Drury), harvesting of Tasar cocoons, production of Tasar silk yarn from cocoons and weaving of Tasar yarn into fabric.
The major producers in the sector include Silkworm rearers, yarn producers and weavers. India is the second largest producer of Tasar silk in the World after China. In India, Tasar silkworm is reared on host trees like Asan, Arjun and Sal, available abundantly in the estimated 14.5 million hectares of tropical forests in the states of Jharkhand, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Tasar rearing is carried out in the outdoors, mainly in the forest areas. Tasar silkworm rearers are forest dwellers, often tribals and the income from Tasar significantly contributes towards their livelihoods. Tasar weavers are traditional handloom weavers mostly living in the hinterlands of silk trade centres. An estimated 1.5 lakh families are currently involved in Tasar sericulture. The market demand for Tasar has been increasing at an annual compounded rate of over 12%.
There is vast scope to enhance livelihood security and reduce poverty in the proposed districts through systematic promotion of Tasar sericulture by way of adoption of recommended technologies and facilitating market led growth processes. In the tribal areas with limited employment avenues, Tasar sericulture can offer significant income opportunities through utilization of slack labour and idle assets like fallow uplands.
In its production process, tasar sericulture makes a long chain of inter-dependent activities like raising and maintenance of food plants in the uplands, silkworm seed production, silkworm rearing and cocoon production, silk reeling, spinning, grading, marketing etc.
For smooth functioning of the production chain, various operations require human skill, input support, technological intervention, technical assistance and most importantly easy availability of finance, besides a sound extension back up. Some of the critical areas of intervention for enhancing the quality and productivity of the activities in Tasar culture are-
Background of the proposed projects for Tasar sericulture promotion:
While PRADAN has been promoting Tasar sericulture based livelihoods among marginalized communities for over two decades, in the past 10 years, the Central Silk Board, Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India, the Apex organization for promotion of sericulture in the country and PRADAN, have been collaborating to transfer improved technologies, establish linkages and built sustainable people’s collectives in Tasar sub-sector to benefit over 15,000 rural households. These efforts were supported initially through a pilot project under UNDP and subsequently up-scaled through Special SGSY Projects with assistance from MoRD in Jharkhand and Bihar. In recent years, NABARD and the office of the Tribal Welfare Commissioner, Govt. of Jharkhand has also contributed to fuel the growth of the activities.
The above initiatives have amply demonstrated the livelihood potential of Tasar sericulture especially for Tribal communities. The demand for accessing Tasar based livelihoods is now clearly perceptible in the rural areas. Building on this current context, the Central Silk Board and PRADAN have come up with the idea of undertaking multi-state ventures to reach out to a large number of rural households and create impact on a significant scale both in terms of livelihood creation at the family level and unleashing sectoral growth in Tasar sericulture. This idea was discussed with the Ministry of Rural Development, Govt. of India on 21st November 2011 followed by series of discussions on the issue. The MoRD has agreed for the proposal of the CSB to formulate projects that may be considered for financing under the Mahila Kisan Sasatikaran Pariyojana (MKSP) as a logical extension of the early phases of intervention.
Accordingly, CSB formulated seven Projects for tasar development for the States of Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Chattisgarh in coordination with PRADAN, for Andhra Pradesh in coordination with Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) and also for Maharashtra in coordination with BAIF, Pune. These projects were submitted by the Central Silk Board to the MoRD on 9th May 2012. The details of the projects are as follows:
Proposed Project Area:
|State||Project Districts||Project Beneficiaries|
|Tasar- Direct||Tasar- Total||Grand Total|
|Jharkhand||Godda, Dumka, Pakur, East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum, Saraikela Kharswan and Deogarh||6567||8209||11438|
|West Bengal||Bankura, Paschim Medinipur||1508||1885||2632|
|Chhattisgarh||Raigarh, Dhamtari, Kanker, Bastar, Bilaspur and Sarguja||2343||3379||4505|
|Andhra Pradesh||Adilabad, Khammam, Warangal and East Godavari||3407||4259||5928|
|Total||States : 7, Districts: 23||20514||26093||36116|
|State/Category||Credit||Beneficiary||MORD||CSB||Total Cost (lakh)|
|Total Project Outlay||483.516||705.102||5368.952||1780.011||8337.581|
|Total Project Grant||5368.952||1780.011||7148.963|
|State||Investment/family (Rs.)||Sector support cost (Rs.)||Total investment/ family||Total project grant/ beneficiary|