Sericulture, an intensive agro-based industry which is ideally suited to the socio-economic condition of Bangladesh. It covers both agriculture and industry. The agriculture portion includes mulberry plantation, silk worm rearing, cocoon production and its marketing while the industrial part covers reeling of silk yearn, throwing, twisting, weaving, dyeing, printing and finishing of fabrics.
The significant importance of sericulture is that the harvesting time of this product is very short and no farming is necessary like jute; paddy, wheat ect. Other than regular farming it can be cultivated like kitchen garden in any fallen or barren land. Hopefully that the people engaged in the activity are mostly womenfolk.
In the light of above discussion it was learnt from Natore Sadar Upazila Reshom Extension Office that it has ten bighas of land for mulberry plantation and about 40,000 saplings are being produced and distributed among the farmers. Per year about 16000 reshom egg and cocoon are produced and supplied. Beside that cattle rearing equipments are also distributed among the farmers to encourage them. There are 245 mulberry farmers are engaged with this activity and they are mostly womanfolk. There are seven sub-centres 23those have been setup different 7 villages in the district and the villages are: Natore Sadar, Sonapatil, Ekdala, Tomaltola, Habitpur, Koidima and Boraigram.
On the otherhand the local office has some problems which found during visit. The office workers need at least one motorbike for official works at field levels. The cultivators are marginalised farmers. They need financial help because they have no proper ability to maintain their families. Even, they are not be able to buy the essential equipments for agriculture works. They demanded increase of market price for produced silk cocoon as they can not cope with its production cost. Side by side, they requested to provide a permanent system for selling the cocoons throughout the year. At present, the number of buyers are very short in the market and they purchase it according to their wishes.
In this connection, the activities of Bangladesh Sericulture Board can be discussed for more informations. The BSB was established in 1977, with a view to promote and inflate sericulture and silk industries and to make provision for welfare to the persons engaged in the job. Its head office is located at Rajshahi. It is under the administrative control of Ministry of Textile and Jute.
Advantages of Sericulture
1. As a cottage industry, all family members can work and earn supplementary income.
2. Facilities 4 to 5 crops in a year and ensures more income.
3. Mulberry, the only food plant of silkworm can be raised in any cultiviable and non-cultivible land and ensures leaf supply for about 30 to 35 years.
4. Requires Less investment and training.
5. Besides cocoon crop, fuel, manure, poultry feed and fodder can be made available through sericulture activity.
6. Obtain all sorts of technical help and input like mulberry saplings, cutting, silk worm seeds etc. from field offices of BSB.
Functions of BSB
a) Plan and develop sericulture and silk industry.
b) Undertake, assist and encourage scientific, technological and economic research.
c) Rear, develop and distribute healthy silkworm seeds.
d) Improve the quality of raw silk products.
e) Make arrangements for marketing of sericulture products and publicity for their popularization both at home and abroad.
f) Render promotional and extension facilities for standardization of silk products for export and provide training facilities to silk reares, reelers, spinners, weaverss and printers.
g) Devise means for improved methods of mulberry cultivation, castor cultivation and cultivation of other related plants.
Contributions of BSB
1. Sericulture activities are expanded in 42 districts and 167 upazilas.
2. 6.00 lakh pessons have been brought under sericulture profession through motivation.
3. More than 2 crore 4 lakh mulberry saplings have been raised and distributed among the farmers and NGO’s.
4. About 6 more disease free laying have been distributed among the farmers and NGO’s.
5. About 14 thousand persons have been imparted training in different fields of sericulture.
6. 35 NGO’s are brought under sericulture by giving all out help and cooperation.
7. 35 private silk factories have been established through direct or indirect help of BSB.
8. A good number of improved mulberry varieties and silkworm races have been evolved and they are being used for commercial purpose.
Future Work Plan
Bangladesh Sericulture Board has launched an action plan for three years. The main activity of the action plan is stated as follows.
1. 10 Reshom Polli (Sericulture village) to be established in different places.
2. 20 chawki rearing cum service centres to be established.
3. Bush/Low cut plantation to be made in 1750 bighas of land.
4. 80 lakhs mulberry sapling to be raised and distributed among the farmers.
5. 6615 persons/employees to be imparted training.
6. 10 nursaries to be modernised and strengthened.
7. Financial and technical support to be extended to the farmers.
8. Permanent sericulture extension infrustructure to be established phase wise.
Besides, a project is being formulated worth of Taka 27.57 crore to be implemented for the development of sericulture.
It is hoped, if the policy program undertaken by the BSB and those under consideration are achieved- it will give a momentum to eradicate the poverty scenario of the country.