Silk weavers in factories are struggling for their livelihood as the silk exports hit the lowest mark in 6 years.
Bengaluru: A data compilation by Central Silk Board, Bengaluru, reports that India’s export earnings from silk fabrics and made-ups for 2020-2021is Rs 730 crores – the lowest in six years. The situation is affecting most of the grass-root level workers like weavers to earn their living.
Khaja Miyan, a weaver at Kempemma Weaver Industry said, “My owner is at a loss these days. While selling one saree, he faces a loss of 500 rupees. Without raw products, how are we going to weave sarees? Now if the business is like this, how can we feed our family?”
The weavers get Rs. 300-350 for their 5-6 days of labor to weave a saree. Earlier, the factory got its silk cocoons from nearby villages. But the constant heavy rains affected the local production. Hence, the weavers have to buy imported silk cocoons that is 3 times higher than the older price. But the factory spending for raw products increased the selling prices. As a consequence, handwoven fabrics worth 3 lakhs are piled-up in their storeroom.
The Central Silk Board said that the economic conditions of the silk importing countries like Italy and France are affecting the export rates. H. Rudranna Gouda, a senior officer at Central Silk Board added, “Our Indian silk is around 5600- 5800 rupees. Thus, the prices are gone up internationally every manufacturer are not able to sell it in the market. That will be taken care of in another 5 years. May be with Silk Samagra-2.”
According to the , sericulture employs to 87.3 lakh people in 2021. Also, in India, Karnataka is the highest exporter of silk with over 8276 metric tonnes of silk exported in 2019. Taking the employment aspect into consideration. Even though experts agree with the Silk Samagra scheme but an instant solution is required to address it.
Dr Satyajeet Deshpande, Principal of J. G. College of Commerce said, “Government can assure a minimum price to the silk producer, but that has to be done immediately. Export duties can also be reduced to promote the exports.” He also emphasised that the government should give weavers and silk cocoon growers temporary subsidies till the global market gets back to normal.