GUWAHATI, Feb 16 � The State could produce 113 metric tonnes (MT) of muga in 2010-11. This year, it has produced about 71.85 MT of the golden silk up to the second quarter (July, August, September).
Scopes are there that production of the silk can touch the 2010-11 figure this time after the results of the Katiya crop are available. The results of this year�s last quarter � October, November, December� also remain to be available, sources in the Sericulture Directorate said.
The main commercial crops of the golden silk are produced in May and June, which is called Jethuwa, and in October-November. The latter crop is known as Katiya.
The State is recording an upward trend so far as muga production is concerned since 1997-98. In 1997-98, the State could produce 60 MT of muga. At the end of the Ninth Five Year Plan, that is, in 2001-02, it produced 92 MT in a single year. At the end of the Tenth Five Year Plan, in 2006-07, it produced 96.45 MT of the golden silk in a year.
The State Government provided support to about 1,500 seed producers for producing disease-free seeds during the last two (Tenth and Eleventh) Five Year Plan periods. They can at present supply around 30 per cent to 35 per cent seeds.
The State has targeted about 1.5 crore seeds during the current year with the target of producing 150 MT of raw golden silk. But it is now expected that the State would be able to produce 1 crore to 1 crore 15 lakh seeds. However, the exact picture will become clear only after March.
The Central Silk Board is to play a vital role in supplying the pre-basic seed to the Sericulture Department of the State for further multiplication. These two seeds are�Aghonuwa (produced in the Assamese month of Aghon) and Aheruwa (produced in the Assamese month of Ahar).
The Silk Board is trying to achieve their targets. They are to supply around three per cent pre-basic seeds to the Sericulture Department on the basis of the latter�s total requirement of seeds. The pre-basic seed is the basic foundation for producing commercial seeds. The Silk Board is yet to fulfill its mandate in respect to supplying pre-basic seeds. Non-availability of quality seeds in time is posing a problem, sources said.
Changes taking place in climate are one of the major hurdles for the muga industry. Tea in Upper Assam and rubber in Lower Assam are also posing threats to this traditional industry. Young generations are also seemingly lacking in the interest in matters of rearing the muga worms. However, they are displaying interest in reeling, weaving and other activities in the post-cocoon period.
Lack of research and development support is still keeping the muga sector dependent on chances. The situation can be improved if the Silk Board and the Assam Agricultural University take up serious research works, sources said.