Silk farmer lets cows eat mulberry plants in farm due to coronavirus crisis
Palakkad: As the coronavirus prevention lockdown affected many industries including sericulture, a silk farmer here had to use the mulberry plants in his farm as fodder for cow. Vandithavalam native Udayakumar had to let his cow eat the mulberry plants which he grew for producing silk worm cocoons.
The silk farmers in Kerala faced huge loss after the market in Ramanagaram of Karnataka closed as part of COVID-19 prevention. Ramanagaram is the major market of silk cocoons in south India. As it was closed, even the last hope for a new harvest was lost and the mulberry plants was given as fodder for cow, said Udayakumar who is also the secretary of Sericulture Society in Palakkad.
After the silk import from China stopped, one kilogram of cocoon fetched upto Rs 600 in Ramanagaram market until two weeks ago. Following this, the farmers took all steps to expand production. But the market was closed soon after this leaving the farmers in distress. They had to abandon farming halfway.
Though there is a market in Udumalpet of Tamil Nadu run by a private person, silk cocoons from Kerala is not accepted there. In addition to these hurdles, the dealers also demand a certificate from the collector stating the product is from a coronavirus-free region.
No facility to preserve cocoons
In order to preserve cocoons, they have to be boiled at 100 degree celsius heat and kept in cold storage like facilities. No such systems are available in Kerala.
Some of the larger companies in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have the facilities, but the lockdown has closed all ways to reach there. The silk farmers requested the government should provide them emergency financial aid to survive the situation.