Silk Biotechnology: Industrial Outlook

Currently, while the domestic-demand for raw silk of all varieties is about 30,000.00 MT, only about 23,679.00 MT is produced within the country (2012-13).

The supply gap is mainly for warp-grade silk, which constitutes approximately about 43 per cent of the total domestic-demand (warp-grade silk preferred by power-looms can usually be had only from bivoltine races). Imported Chinese Bivoltine yarn presently fills this supply-gap, as India’s production mostly is of multivoltine variety suitable for handlooms.

The export earnings from silk goods are growing steadily because of increasing demand for Indian silk goods, particularly from the USA and European countries. Export earnings, which stood at Rs. 2,294.00 crores (Rs 22.9 billion) during the year 2002-03 increased only to Rs. 2,303.53 crores (Rs 23 billion) during the year 2012-13 because of economic recession.

Silk production scenario

The global raw silk production was around 1, 52,868.00 MT in the year 2012. China is the major player with 82.42 percent share followed distantly by India with 15.49 per cent.

As regards trade, China also dominates in exports of raw silk, silk yarn and silk fabrics with a global share of more than 90 per cent, 45 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

It is relevant to note that while, production of silk in many countries have declined sharply except in China, there appears to be a steady growth of Indian sericulture, production ranging between 18,000 to 23,000 MT during the last 6 years.

Out of 23,679.00 MT raw silk productions during the year 2012-13, vanya silks accounted for 4,964.00 MT, which comes to about 20.96 per cent of the total raw silk production.

During the same period, Tasar silk accounted for 34.83 per cent, Eri silk – 62.77 per cent and Muga silk – 2.40 per cent of the total vanya (non-Mulberry silk) production but only 7.30 per cent, 13.16 per cent and 0.50 per cent respectively of the total raw silk production, with Mulberry raw silk accounting for about 79.04 per cent.

The Central Silk Board (CSB) and its research institutes have contributed substantially towards the improvement of silk industry.

India, which once contributed only 1.3 per cent of the total world raw silk production in the 1930s, now accounts for 12 per cent and occupies second position after China.

Total raw silk production in India has increased from 886.00 MT in the year 1951-1952 to 23,679.00 MT by the year 2012-2013.

Though the Indian silk industry has progressed steadily since independence, in recent years, there is almost stagnation in the production of Mulberry raw silk, which is a matter of concern.

However, the Mulberry industry has made a positive turn around since the year 2004-2005 and has recorded a production of 18,715.00 MT during 2012-2013, of which Bivoltine silk is 1984.00 MT and multivoltine and crossbreed silk is 16,731.00 MT.