Mulberry problems discussed at mela

Statesman News Service
KALIMPONG, March 23. — The Central Silk Board, under the Union ministry of textiles, organised a ‘Resham Krishi Mela’ today, in an attempt to spread awareness about mulberry cultivation in the Hills.
At the fair, farmers took part in a discussion about the problems affecting the quality and quantity of production of mulberry plants.
“Of late, both the Central and state agencies are working hand-in-hand to strengthen sericulture, silkworm rearing for the production of raw silk in the Hills,” joint director of the regional sericultural research station, Kalimpong, Dr BN Roy, said.
It was stressed at the gathering that cultivation, if done on a large scale, would improve the financial condition of those depending on it.
At the fair, farmers hailing from Pedong, Gidabling, Sikkim, and Bhalukhop mostly discussed about the pros and cons of this variety of cultivation. “Previously, I had the feeling that it is one of the most difficult jobs, but over the years, I have grown confident,” Mr JL Rai, a cultivator from Gidabling (block-II), Kalimpong, said.
The farmers were also familiarised with various disinfectants to prevent silkworm diseases and room disinfectants.
More than 400 families in the Hills now depend on cultivation of mulberry, on a total area of 427 acres. It was learnt that the annual production of cocoons from Darjeeling district is four metric tones. “Sadly, this has always remained a subsidiary occupation for the hill people,” Mr NK Rizal, superintendent of sericulture (RSRS, Kalimpong), said.
The speakers and farmers argued that more needs to be done by the station to increase production. “The station hasn’t certainly been able to make as much progress as was expected,” said Mr PK Chatterjee, joint director (North-east), directorate of sericulture, government of West Bengal.
Echoing his stand, the chief guest, Mr Dawa Pakhrin, president of GNLF’s Kalimpong branch committee, said: “Such programmes should be held in a bigger manner with the participation of more farmers. The officials should also make sure that the latest technologies are being taken to the villages.”

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