Distribution of Mulberry and Non-mulberry Sericulture (area, production and productivity across states), Cocoon Production

Distribution of Mulberry and Non-mulberry Sericulture (area, production and productivity across states), Cocoon Production

  • Sericulture which has its origin in China is an age old industry in India.
  • Silk route is one of the ancient internationally recognized route for global business for not only silk but also other important commodities.
  • History reveals that silk is also used as an alternate currency (One of the important item to be exchanged in Barter System).
  • India, silk has a prominent place since beginning and has glorious past and considered precious of great trading value. Indian sericulture plays a prominent role both at National & International level.
  • At National level, it is important source of remunerative employment for around 6 million people, particularly in rural areas and the majority of which are from a socioeconomically weaker section of society and women folk.
  • Besides, it contributes significantly in earning valuable and sizeable foreign exchange for the country through export of silk goods. Moreover, this industry ensures supply of Raw silk to the domestic market.


  • Silk being an exclusive fiber and popular as “Queen of Textiles”, the money moves from the rich and urban market to the poor and rural producers.
  • As the developed countries retreating from the silk production in view of increased cost of human power, silk production provides hope and opportunities to the developing countries.
  • Having realized the benefits of investing resources in sericulture, the Union Government and the States over the years have laid emphasis on programmes based on sericulture for rural development.
  • The role of sericulture and silk manufacturing industry in putting the country in its present position in the global scenario and the potential that exists in the agrarian economy like India, in respect of agro-climatic zones, diversity in the variety of silk that no single country can boast of, skilled manpower that creates magic out of this queen of textiles cannot be overlooked by planner anymore.
  • India is credited for at least four distinctions in the world of silk. Indians are the largest consumers of silk.
  • Second largest producers of silk, Largest importer of mulberry raw silk and producers of all four commercially exploited silk in the world viz., –Mulberry, Tasar, Eri and Muga and has been recording consistent growth in the production and productivity.
  • As India encompasses wide geographical and agro-climatic variations, mulberry sericulture is distributed in temperate, sub-tropical and tropical regions, while the major share comes from the tropics.

Production across states and India

  • Indian silk industry has moved on with long strides and its production has increased to about 18,320 MTs in 2007-08.
  • Mulberry silk currently accounts for over 88% in the production total of all varieties of silk.
  • About 53,814 villages of India are involved in growing silk cocoons by bringing approximately 185 thousand hectares of land under silkworm food plant cultivation.
  • The total annual production of mulberry raw silk in India is 16,245 MTs . as per statistics of silk production, the major states producing mulberry silk are Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh & Tamil Nadu in South India; West Bengal & Manipur in East India, Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh and J&K in the North.
  • The traditional silk producing states (Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and J&K) together account for 98% of the total mulberry silk produced in the country

Mulberry Silk

  • Bulk of the commercial silk produced in the world comes from this variety and often refers to mulberry silk. Mulberry silk comes from the silkworm, BombyxmoriL. which solely feeds on the leaves of mulberry plant.
  • These silkworms are completely domesticated and reared indoors. The mulberry sector continues to be predominantly rural and small farmer-based, with post cocoon activities in the cottage and small industry sector.
  • Mulberry silk contributes to around 80% of the silk production.
  • In India, the major mulberry silk producing States are Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Jammu & Kashmir which together contributes 97% of country’s total mulberry raw silk production.

Non-Mulberry Silk


  • Tasar (Tussah) is copperish beige colour, coarse silk mainly used for furnishings and interiors. It is less lustrous than mulberry silk, but has its own feel and appeal.
  • Tasar silk is generated by the silkworm, AntheraeamylittaD which mainly thrive on the food plants of Asan and Arjun. The rearings are conducted outdoor in nature on the trees.
  • In India, tasar silk is mainly produced in the States of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odissa, besides Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Tasar culture is the mainstay for many tribal communities in India.


  • Also known as Endi or Errandi, Eri is a multivoltine silk spun from open-ended cocoons, unlike Other varieties of silk.
  • Eri silk is the product of the semi domesticated silkworm, Philosamia Ricini that feeds mainly on castor leaves.
  • Eri Silkworm being polyfagous has wide range of food Plants such as Tapioca/cassava, Papaya, Payam, Kessaru and Barkessuru etc.
  • Eri-culture is a Household activity practiced mainly in North Eastern Region for protein rich pupae, a delicacy for the tribals in the region. Resultantly, the eri cocoons are open-mouthed and are spun.
  • The silk was used indigenously for preparation of chaddars(wraps) for own use by the tribals. Eri silk fabric is a boon for those who practice absolute non-violence and do not use any product obtained by killing any living creature.
  • Eri silk now popularized as “Ahinsa Silk”.
  • Now Eri silk is getting popular the world over due to the isothermal properties which make it suitable for eri shawls, jackets and blankets.
  • In India, Eri culture is practiced mainly in the NorthEastern States.
  • It is also getting popularized in Bihar, West Bengal, Odisa, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Eri silk is suitable for knit products, under wears, kids wear, denim and other fashion garments.


  • This golden yellow colour silk is prerogative of India and the pride of Assam State. It is obtained from the wild multivoltine silkworm, Antheraeaassamensis.
  • These silkworms feed on the aromatic leaves of Som and Soalu plants and are reared outdoor on trees similar to that of tasar.
  • This fabric is one of the world treasures of fine silk fabrics, woven on foot-powered, hand operated looms, which creates a subtle unevenness.
  • The natural shimmery golden colour of this rare, wild silk needs no dye to enhance its exquisite beauty.
  • It is a high value product used in products like sarees, mekhalas, chaddars, etc.
  • Muga culture is specific to the State of Assam and an integral part of the tradition and culture of that State.
  • However, the muga culture is getting popularized to other States like West Bengal, Meghalaya and Nagaland due to the availability of Som and Soalu plants.
  • Muga is now used to replace zariin sarees and for surface ornamentation is garments / apparels, etc.


Trends in Indian sericulture:  

  • Over the last six decades Indian silk industry has registered an impressive growth, both horizontally and vertically.
  • Plans and schemes implemented by central and state agencies and relentless efforts of thousands of dedicated persons in the fields of research and extension have helped in this context.
  • For instance, the age old multivoltine hybrids have been replaced by multivoltine × bivoltine and bivoltine hybrids. The sericulture industry has witnessed a quantum jump in raw silk productivity.
  • The average yield of 25 kgs of cocoons/100 dfls in the recent past has increased and currently the average yields are in the range of 60 – 65 kgs/100 dfls.
  • The new technology, besides doubling yields has also led to qualitative improvements in cocoon production with considerably reduced renditta and has also helped break the climate barrier.


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