To boost the silk industry in Maharashtra, the state government has planned to make available local markets for sericulturists in drought-affected Marathwada.
According to a report in DNA, the state government has begun work on the first organised market for silk cocoons in the region. Even a ground-breaking ceremony had been conducted at Jalna earlier this month. A senior official from the state directorate of sericulture told the leading daily, "This market had been launched in April 2018 on an experimental basis at the Jalna Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) and saw a turnover of Rs 3 crore. At present, farmers from Marathwada go to markets like Hyderabad and Ramnagara in Karnataka to sell silk cocoons. This access to a local market will ensure a good price, reduce travel costs, and encourage more farmers to take up silk work cultivation."
The report further stated that work has also begun on a market at Solapur, while a facility is operational at Baramati. Cocoons are auctioned at rates between Rs 350 to 500 per kg depending on the market situation. Another official told the DNA, "The basic rate is based on that at Ramnagara and even if farmers get slightly lower rates than that they would have secured there, it will ensure lesser costs like overheads, transport and labour."
The Maharashtra government is also branding its own 'Ahimsa silk' brand to appeal to vegans and religious sects which do not use the fabric because of the silkworms harmed in the production process.