A new lease of life for Anjunadu silk

By TheHindu on 16 Nov 2016 | read
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A mulberry farm at Marayur. Farmers restarted mulberry cultivation a year go to counter the low prices of jaggery, shortage of workers, and unfavourable climate that affected sugarcane cultivation.

Farmers restarted mulberry cultivation a year go to counter the low prices of Marayur jaggery, shortage of workers, and unfavourable climate that affected sugarcane cultivation.

Anjunadu silk (Maryur silk) is staging a comeback with farmers in Marayur taking up mulberry cultivation once again.

Like the Marayur sandalwood, the silk of Anjunadu was once famous. Its fall from grace started nearly 25 years ago following the change in the demand for silk and the farmers shifting from mulberry to other crops.

Farmers restarted mulberry cultivation a year go to counter the low prices of Marayur jaggery, shortage of workers, and unfavourable climate that affected sugarcane cultivation.

New enthusiasm

“A new enthusiasm is seen among the farmers as the silkworm cocoons produced here are being purchased by the Central Silk Board at Coimbatore,” said a Marayur grama panchayat official, who added that the panchayat was providing all support to the farmers in their endeavour.

Thankaraj, a farmer, said the board was purchasing cocoon at Rs.350 to Rs.400 a kg. The farmers were also encouraged to take up mulberry cultivation with a subsidy of Rs.50 a kg and financial assistance for allied infrastructure by the Rural Development Department.

“It is a remunerative price when compared to the labour and care required,” Mr. Thankaraj said adding that their forefathers had grown mulberry plants on hundreds on acres and promoted sericulture.

The Central Silk Board has drawn up a project to revive mulberry cultivation and the farmers are given high quality disease-resistant silkworms.

More takers

S. Rajesh, a farmer, said he was cultivating mulberry in one acre.

He said in his youth, silk production and mulberry cultivation were a major vocation and the Anchunadu Spinning Mills was so famous that the silk produced here gained national prominence.

Mr. Rajesh said nearly a hundred farmers had taken up mulberry cultivation under the new initiative.

Lack of government support and poor prices had forced the farmers to abandon mulberry cultivation. He said farmers returned to mulberry cultivation as the Department of Rural Development had evolved a plan to make Kanthallur and Marayur a silk hub.

Mulberry cultivation reached it peak in the early nineties and started to wane with the closing down of the Mulberry Producers Cooperative Society.

Now, the Rural Development Department plans to restore the “silk lineage” by promoting the cultivation of mulberry in the two villages.

 

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