GUWAHATI, Dec 27 - To overcome the threats to muga crops posed by the phenomenon of climate change, the Central Silk Board is conducting research in the area of genetic engineering with an aim at developing new muga breeds. The new breeds are sought to be developed in a manner that they would be able to withstand the adverse impacts of soaring temperature, caused by the phenomenon of climate change.
Disclosing this, State�s Sericulture Director Muktanath Saikia told this correspondent that the phenomenon of climate change has adversely impacted muga crops in the State. It perhaps needs no mention that Assam is the only muga producing area in the world.
Saikia further apprised that since muga has no second breed, it is also facing breeding depression, which is reflected in its reduced productivity. There is hence a need to develop new breeds of muga for the purpose too, he said.
With the aim of attaining this goal, a wild muga sanctuary has been established by the Sericulture Directorate, keeping in mind the fact that muga worms are yet to be domesticated and they are still bred and reared in the wild. The sanctuary has been set up at the Daigrung reserve forest in Golaghat district, adjacent to the Kaziranga National Park (KNP).
This sanctuary is expected to infuse new blood to the muga crops and help in overcoming their inbreeding depression problem, Saikia said.
Efforts have also been made to make muga farming a full-time job. So far, muga farming has remained a part-time job. Now, some youths have come forward with the proposal to take up muga farming as a profession.
But to create a conducive atmosphere for such youths, there is a need to extend support to them by establishing a minimum support price mechanism and cocoon banks, Saikia said.
Elaborating, he said, the minimum support price is meant for checking distressed sale in situations which compel the farmers to go for selling their cocoons at a throwaway price. It has now been decided that the Sericulture Directorate�s cocoon bank officials will purchase the cocoons at a minimum support price. There are at present five cocoon banks � one each at Boko, North Lakhimpur, Udalguri and Sualkuchi, which are run by the Sericulture Directorate and the fifth one, located at Sivasagar, run by the Central Silk Board.
The Sericulture Directorate has proposed to set up five more cocoon banks, one each at Dibrugarh, Biswanath Chariali, Nagaon, Silchar and Dhakuakhana, within March 2018, said the Sericulture Director.