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New hybrids will help raise yields of silkworm farmers

Sericulture farmers could soon see higher yields of silkworm cocoons, with the Central Silk Board notifying some of the recently developed races of mulberry (which feeds on mulberry leaves) and vanya (forest-based) silkworm eggs. These races are now authorised for commercial production.

The newly developed hybrid of mulberry silkworm (PM x FC2) can produce 60 kg of cocoons per 100 Disease Free Layings (silkworm eggs) and is said to be ‘better than’ the earlier race titled PM x CSR. The tropical tasar silkworm (BDR-10) has 21% more productivity than the traditional Daba breed and the Eri silkworm (C2) race is found to be ‘better’ than the local breed, according to industry experts. It can produce 247 numbers of Eri cocooons per 100 DFLs, says a press release.

In the south, some tasar silk is produced in Andhra Pradesh (A.P.). That apart, almost all the silk produced is the mulberry variety. Within this, production of bivoltine silkworm is high in T.N. and A.P.

South, and Maharashtra

The new hybrid of mulberry silkworm is suitable for farmers across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra.

The national average of cocoon production for mulberry silkworm is 50-55 kg per 100 DFLs, said V. Sivaprasad, director, Central Sericultural Research and Training Institute.

This can, however, vary for each State. The recently developed hybrid can produce 60 kg of cocoons per 100 DFLs. The silk yield from the cocoons will also be higher. As a result, a farmer’s income can go up 5-10%.

When new varieties are developed, these go through tests at trial farms and large-scale testing with farmers, Mr. Sivaprasad said.

The PM x FC2 hybrid has been under commercial production for the last couple of years and the notification would help farmers adopt large-scale culture.

An official of the Central Silk Board said the total annual raw silk requirement in the country is 30,000 tonnes. Production of the bivoltine variety is close to 6,000 tonnes and almost 4,000 tonnes are imported. Efforts are on to improve import substitute bivoltine raw silk production.

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