Srinagar, July 16 : Sher-e-Kashmir Agriculture University of Science and Technology has set up a Department of Sericulture with a silk weaving unit, which is first of its kind for any agricultural university in India.
Sher-e-Kashmir Agriculture University of Science and Technology has set up a Department of Sericulture with a silk weaving unit, which is first of its kind for any agricultural university in India.
Various techniques of proper cocoon development for quality silk will be researched and the knowledge shared by scholars and scientists with the silk industry of the valley at the sericulture department here.
The university has got first silk weaving unit with help of Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) and the Silk Board, which is the first of its kind in Indian agricultural universities.
It is hoped that with the research findings from this silk weaving unit, the production of cocoons will increase and weavers of Kashmir valley will gain in the long-run.
Located around 20 kilometres off Srinagar, the silk weaving unit was inaugurated a month earlier than the scheduled date. ith this unit becoming functional, the university has all the facilities to assess the quality of silk, right from the cocoon stage.
The silk unit shall also pave way for many silk weavers to have easy access to reeling and weaving equipment and enrich their knowledge in the field of silk.
It would also motivate them to take up value addition activities beyond cocoon production.
Besides, it will also help cocoon weavers of valley because sericulture department will invite cocoon weavers to gave them special training regarding silk weaving in the unit.
"You would be happy to know that the unit which we started on June 18 here, is first university amongst the universities of India which has installed this unit. Our Vice Chancellor has asked us to give training to all people interested in silk weaving and reeling," said Afifa Shaheen Kamli, Head of the Department of Sericulture at the SKAUST.
Kashmiri silk is famous all over the world and with the help of the Department of Sericulture, the product would be now witness a rapid progress.
Prior to the installation of this unit, the Department of Sericulture was weaving silk in the private sector whereas now it will be done within the campus for research scientists to know the ground realities.
"It would benefit the researchers who could themselves process their material. They would first study, make a small unit and then start weaving and make cloth. One benefit would be that they would become skilled labour. Moreover, the profit that they would get will be the maximum in the business," said Mohammed Aijaz, one Scientist with the Department of Sericulture, SKAUST.
Labour-intensive and functioning more like a cottage industry, sericulture and silk weaving happen to be high-income generating industry with numerous value added products churned out from it.
The silk weaving unit would also help the mulberry growers for cocoon development and above all the reelers and weavers in the valley to be abreast with the latest trends and also avail special training for quality silk products.
It is also expected to lend a boost to employment opportunities for the youth in the valley to venture into sericulture.
"It would be a good initiative if people from outside come here. They would learn here and also get employed anytime of the year. It will benefit us a lot and even others," said Gulam Mohi-u-din Dar, a worker at the silk weaving unit, Department of Sericulture, SKAUST.
India is the second largest producer and consumer of silk products in the world. During 2006-07, the total production was around 18,475 metric tonnes.
It is worthwhile to mention that India's silk export have risen from rupees 2,359 crores (Rs. 23.59 billion) in 2001-02 to rupees 3,338 crores (Rs.33.38 billion) during 2006-07 and denote a growth of 8.3 percent over a period of half a decade. By Afzal Bhat (ANI)
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