Diverse innovations show dreams of Rajshahi silk industries revival

Online Desk

23 Oct 2022 15:39 PM

Golden tradition of silk industries is expected to revive within a shortest possible time with breakthrough innovation of high yielding varieties of silkworms and mulberry plants. 

Bangladesh Sericulture Research and Training Institute (BSRTI) has innovated 20 silkworm and 15 mulberry plant varieties after a long research creating massive hope of revitalization of the prestigious silk sector, reports BSS. 

BSRTI Senior Scientific Officer (SSO) Faruque Ahmed told BSS that silk production will be enhanced by around 12 to 15 percent together with decreasing the dependence on import of silk yarn amid the variety innovation recently. Farmers will also be benefited enormously by virtue of the innovation.

Since the immemorial time, Rajshahi has been famous for silk but its legacy was on the verge of wane for the last couple of decades. BSRTI has started showing the dreams of the golden day's silks again in the region.

Faruque Ahmed said they conducted the research under a five-year project for production enhancement of silk through technology development expansion and skilled manpower generation.

Through the Taka 35.66-crore project, 20 silkworms and 15 mulberry plants have been added to the present stock cumulating the number of silkworms to 114, while mulberry plants to 38.

Apart from this, mulberry variety has been elevated to 84 from 60, while silkworm variety to 114, including 27 high yielding ones, from 85 in BSRTI's germplasm bank with the development of the 35 new varieties.

By dint of the innovation of 20 silkworm varieties, production of 70 to 75 kilograms of silk could be possible from per 100 disinfectant eggs within less time, while the previous figure was 60 to 65 kilograms.

Besides, 40 to 47 tons of mulberry leaves could be produced per hectare of land yearly amid innovation of the 15 mulberry varieties, whereas the previous figure was 30 to 37 tons.

Another SSO Rumana Ferdus Bint-A-Rahman said the newly developed varieties will be expanded to the grassroots farmers as soon as possible so that they can derive total benefits of the research outcomes.

BSRTI Director Kazi Rafiqul Islam told BSS that they are encouraging the farmers towards mulberry farming as main crop with the ultimate goal of boosting silk production. Currently, mulberry plants are being cultivated on homesteads and roadside vacant places.

He also said intercropping mulberry trees with some other vegetables and spices is being promoted among the farmers aimed at uplifting the silk production.

Rafiqul Islam mentioned prospect of the intercropping is very bright to boost additional income from the same land together with silk cocoon production throughout the region.

Professor Dr Nuzhat Ara of the Department of Zoology of Rajshahi University said the prospect has been increased with extension of mulberry cultivation on around 8,000 hectares of land including roadside plantation throughout the country for the last couple of years.

Actually, the mulberry is cultivated for silkworm rearing and production of silk cocoons.

The mulberry cultivation is more or less dependent on the fallow lands and other roadside mulberry plants without proper management practice at present.

Prof Nuzhat Ara told BSS that the research outputs were positive relating to the production of spices, vegetables and mulberry leaves along with attaining food security.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Sericulture Development Board (BSDB) has been implementing three projects involving around Taka 96.83 crore for improving living and livelihood conditions of the grassroots farmers particularly the distressed women through substantial and sustainable development of the traditional silk sector.

BSDB Director General Shyam Kishore Roy said they are implementing the projects almost throughout the country particularly the potential ones for the silk farming and rearing with the main thrust of achieving the sustainable development goals. 

He said the projects will supplement the government efforts of building social safety net side by side with transforming the villages into towns in phases upon successful implementation of those by 2023. 

Main objective of the five-year project titled "Sericulture Extension and Development" is to generate employment of around 50,000 hardcore poor and landless women for elevating their socio-economic condition through involving them in sericulture.

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