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  • CHAPTER VII

    SUMMARY, FINDINGS, SUGGESTIONS AND CONCLUSION

  • SUMMARY, FINDINGS, SUGGESTIONS AND CONCLUSION

    Sericulture is an ago-based cottage industry having vast potential for

    generating income and employment opportunities in rural areas. This is an industry

    very much suitable for the countries having an agricultural base and problems of

    providing employment to rural labourers. It is one of the crop enterprises identified

    as the most appropriate labour intensive cottage industry for backward regions.

    The most important feature of the sericulture technology is that it is more

    labour intensive rather than capital intensive. Hence, this industry is very much

    suitable for small and marginal farmers who have got more labour than land and

    capital.

    The technology of sericulture is simple, which can be followed even by less

    educated persons. It requires only a small initial investment and can yield income

    within a very short period of time. Silk, the end product of this industry, is having

    great reputation and demand all over the world. There are many varieties of silk, but

    generally the term silk refers to the silk of mulberry origin because almost 95 per

    cent of the world silk production is mulberry silk.

    This industry was first developed in China and at present it is practiced in

    about 30 countries of the world. The Asian countries contribute more than 90

    percent of global silk production. China is the leading producer of silk in the world

    producing more than 80 per cent of the total production of all the countries.

  • India is the second largest producer of silk and is the only country in the

    world producing all types of commercially known silks, viz., mulberry, eri, muga

    and tasar silks. Mulberry silk production in India is largely concentrated in southern

    Karnataka and in the districts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Almost 90 per

    cent of the mulberry silk production of India comes from these areas. West Bengal

    and Jammu and Kashmir are other important producers. At present the industry is

    spread to almost all States of the Country. Sericulture holds an important place in

    our national economy. It has played a very significant role in the socio-economic

    development of various States of the Country. India is an exporter of finished silk

    garments and at the same time an importer of raw silk.

    The Government has recognized this industry as an employment oriented

    industry for rural areas and is giving an important place in the Plan allocations.

    Government has set up the Central Silk Board under the Central Silk Board Act, 1948

    to look after the sericultural program in the Country.

    Sericulture industry is growing in Kerala also. The soil and climatic

    conditions of the State are very much suitable for the development of this industry.

    The Government of Kerala has set up the Kerala State Sericulture Co-operative

    Federation Ltd. (Serifed) in 1994 and entrusted them with the task of promoting

    sericultural activities in the State.

    The present study was intended to assess the progress of the sericulture

    industry in Kerala by giving due importance to the role of Serifed. The study had

    been conducted among the sericultural farmers of the three districts of Kerala, viz.,

    237

  • Alappuzha, Malappuram and Kannur. These three districts were selected as the

    representative districts of the South, Central and North zones of Kerala. A total of

    300 farmers doing sericulture, consisted of 70 farmers from Alappuzha, 130 farmers

    from Malappuram and 100 farmers from Kannur were interviewed. Proper

    interactions were also made with the officials of Serifed at the three district offices

    and those of the head office of Serifed at Thiruvananthapuram. The findings of the

    study are given below:

    7.1. GENERAL

    0 In order to have a systematic approach to the problem, the sericulture

    farmers of the study area were divided in to three classes namely, Small, Medium

    and Large classes on the basis of their cocoon production. Out of the 300 farmers

    interviewed, 226 farmers (75.33 per cent) were small class of farmers who had a

    cocoon production of less than 100 Kgs, 50 farmers (16.67 per cent) were medium

    class who had a production between 100 and 200 Kgs and 24 farmers (eight per cent)

    were large class of farmers who had a production of more than 200 Kgs of cocoons in

    the financial year 2004-05. It is observed that, small class of farmers is predominant

    in all the three districts.

    0 The participation of family members in sericultural activities is important

    from the point of view of profitable operation of the enterprise. It is observed that

    in all the three districts, the rate of participation of family members in sericultural

    activities is very high (75 per cent). The level of age and education of the farmers are

    found to be favorable for understanding and adopting sericulture technologies as it

  • is observed that, majority of the farmers belong to the age group of less than 40 and

    most of them have the educational status SSLC or below and nobody is reported to

    be illiterate. It is found that women have a prominent role in sericulture, as 30.33 per

    cent of the total farmers interviewed were women. It is noticed that all the farmers of

    the study area belonged to the forward casts and no farmer is reported to be in the

    Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.

    0 The income-wise classification of the farmers showed that most of the

    farmers (48.33 per cent) in the three districts belong to the annual income group of

    Rs.25000 to 50000. Majority of them (62 per cent) are basically agriculturists, which

    would enable them to perform better in sericultural activities. Some 15 per cent of

    the farmers have reported that they have no occupation other than sericulture.

    0 The level of training in sericulture in the three districts is found to be 91 per

    cent, which indicates the need for extending training to the remaining farmers also.

    Serifed was the major source of training in all the three districts. Most of the farmers

    (44.72 per cent) had a training period of 10 to 20 days. This shows that a good

    number of farmers have not utilised the full training period of 30 days provided by

    Serifed. Out of the trained farmers 70 per cent are males and the remaining 30 per

    cent are females. Most of the farmers (43.33 per cent) are having less than 3 years of

    experience in sericulture. Only one per cent of the farmers are reported to be having

    more than 10 years of experience.

  • 7.2. MULBERRY CULTIVATION

    0 Since mulberry leaf is the only food for silkworms, the cultivation of

    mulberry is the basic requirement for sericulture. The overall mulberry acreage to

    the total land holdings of the sample farmers is found to be 28.41 per cent. In this

    respect, the Malappuram district is having the highest share (33.56 per cent) and

    Alappuzha is having the lowest share (19.44 per cent). The average mulberry area

    per household is 0.56 acre in the three districts. Variation is found in the average

    area per household among the three districts. It is 0.63 acre in Malappuram, 0.53

    acre in Kannur and 0.46 acre in Alappuzha. Majority of the farmers in the three

    districts (52 per cent) possess a mulberry area of 50 to 100 cents. About 28 per cent of

    the farmers are having less than 50 cents and only 20 per cent are having more than

    one acre of mulberry land. The average area of mulberry possessed by small class of

    farmers is 0.47 acre, that of medium class is 0.74 acre and that of large class of

    farmers is 0.96 acre. It can be presumed that the average mulberry area per farmer is

    enough to conduct sericulture profitably.

    0 There are several varieties of mulberry, which can be cultivated according

    to the suitability of climate and soil. It is found that, majority of the farmers in the

    three districts (55 per cent) are cultivating the variety Victory 1. The variety Kanva 2

    is cultivated by about 35 per cent of the farmers and the remaining (10 per cent)

    cultivate both these varieties. Both Victory 1 and Kanva 2 are regarded as better

    varieties of mulberry. In Malappuram district, majority of the farmers (73.85 per

    cent) have planted Victory 1 where as in Alappuzha and Kannur most of the farmers

  • 7.2. MULBERRY CULTIVATION

    0 Since mulberry leaf is the only food for silkworms, the cultivation of

    mulberry is the basic requirement for sericulture. The overall mulberry acreage to

    the total land holdings of the sample farmers is found to be 28.41 per cent. In this

    respect, the Malappuram district is having the highest share (33.56 per cent) and

    Alappuzha is having the lowest share (19.44 per cent). The average mulberry area

    per household is 0.56 acre in the three districts. Variation is found in the average

    area per household among the three districts. It is 0.63 acre in Malappuram, 0.53

    acre in Kannur and 0.46 acre in Alappuzha. Majority of the farmers in the three