Bihar Agriculture Ministry has sanctioned Rs. 60 cr for the proposed Advanced Centre on Sericulture (silk farming) at Abdul Kalam Agriculture College in Kishanganj this fiscal to promote silk industry in the State, said Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar. The advanced centre will have separate departments for detailed study on mulberry plants, mulberry production, silkworm, silk textile technology and the one dealing with the pest problem that afflict silkworms. This centre would take care of the interests of silk growers as well as those who are associated with the silk textile industry. The funds will also be utilised in putting in place the necessary infrastructure and for the college’s development.

The proposed centre, through detailed study, will help farmers involved in sericulture as the cultivators would have at their disposal latest techniques and also the means to fight pests that inflict large-scale losses on them. The centre will also be beneficial for people engaged in the silk industry, as there would be a separate department for silk textile technology.

Sericulture is popular in Bhagalpur, Banka, Munger, Saharsa, Supaul and some other areas. The farmers at present hardly have any access to modern practices as there is no such institution in Bihar that can provide them the technical and scientific input, said the agriculture department official. Setting up of this advanced centre on sericulture will be a boon for the farmers. A good number of silk weavers come from the Bhagalpur region as of now, and they mainly rely on techniques that have been at their disposal for years together, the official said.

A total of 101 posts of teaching and non-teaching staff have been sanctioned for the centre of which three will be of chief scientist, 14 for senior scientists and 42 for junior scientists. The appointment of 42 non-teaching staff would be done through outsourcing. Even though there is no updated official figures on the number of farmers engaged in sericulture in Bihar, agriculture department sources revealed that it could be anything between 25,000 and 50,000.