Cocoon farmers struggle to make even marginal profit

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Published on April 12, 2019 by

Farmers from around the state who come to sell cocoons suffer as they are unable to make profit in Asia’s biggest e-auction market of Ramanagara.

“I have been planting cocoons from 2004, but this year drought affected the cocoons and quality of cocoons. Last year, we earned 400-500 rupees but this year I have earned only 200-250 rupees. The expenditure of the first plot is about 2, 50,000 rupees. I produced 200 kg of cocoons in one acre but I got 60,000 rupees only. This is a big loss,” said Santosh Deshmukh, a cocoon farmer.

According to the Sericulture Department of Karnataka, cocoons production decreased by 25.4 per cent due to the drought. 10 and 14 farmers committed suicide in the year 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively.

“Cocoons production and quality is decreased due to the drought and climate change. In previous year, the price of cocoons was high but this year, drought and climate change has affected the production of cocoon. GST is also one of the reasons for the loss to the waivers. Competition among the farmers as many farmers have shifted to sericulture farming has also become one among the reason of the loss. However, Government has also supported farmers by providing assistance and subsidies to the farmers.”said  Sandhya Maheshwari, Deputy Director of the Sericulture Department of Karnataka.

India is the second largest producer of the cocoons. Karnataka cocoon waivers face challenges with production of cocoons as the price of the cocoon has reduced.

“To provide good quality cocoons automatic machines are required and government sanctioned 52 automatic reeling machines,” said Munisha Bassia, Deputy Director of Sericulture of Ramanagara. “If cocoons are good but machines are not efficient then there is no use,” he added.

“To produce quality silkworm and cocoons it requires patience. The price depends upon the quality of silk and to maintain quality of cocoons the farmers must work on it. To maintain the shed of cocoons must be protected from the pollution and other infected materials. Government also provide the subsidies and all other equipments to the farmers. Reeling machines would be the best option,” said Manjunath, Sericulture expert said.

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