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| Last Updated:: 08/07/2021


Sericulture in Karnataka



The Mysore Silk is synonymous with 
splendor and grandeur. Mysore silk has been registered as Geographical Indicator under Intellectual Property Rights. Karnataka is the homeland of Mysore Silk. Karnataka sericulture has a history of more than 215 years. In 1785, the Tiger of Mysore Tippu Sultan established sericulture in Mysore kingdom. He wanted Mysore to be the foremost among silk producing nations. The dream of this great ruler became true during later period. During these years Karnataka sericulture has seen many ups and downs in its long journey. It has transformed into a model in mulberry sericulture in the country. During early 19th century while the world sericulture was collapsing, Mysore Sericulture industry sustained. Though, most of the exotic silkworm varieties perished remained stable through this period, and even today it is the back bone of mulberry sericulture in India.

In 1800 the Mysore Royal Government established sericulture in Mogenahalli near Channapatna, which became the center of sericulture activities soon. In 1860, first silk filature was established in Bangalore by an Italian industrialist. During this period many exotic Italian or Chinese or Japanese races were used to produce cross breed layings by this filature. In 1896, great industrialist Sir J.N.Tata established a Silk Farm with a filature attached to it in Japanese pattern, in Bangalore, with the help of Sri. K. Sheshadri Ayyar, the Diwan of Mysore. He got the technical expertise from Japanese couple Mr and Mrs Odzu, who gave scientific outlook for the Sericulture industry. Mr. Odzu trained Sri. V.M.Appadhorai Mudaliar and Sri. Laxman Rao for a period of one year in this farm.

The Architect of Mysore Sir M.Vishveshwaraiah gave much importance to Sericulture in rural development. He hired the services of Signor Washington Mari from Italy to organize and develop silk industry in Mysore in 1913. Signor Mari made available 12 varieties of pure European and Chinese silkworm to conduct experiments. Under the guidance of Signor Mari, Appadhorai Mudaliar conducted native environment breeding experiments in Channapatna. They successfully developed many cross breed combinations between females of Mysore Local (Pure Mysore) and males of European and Chinese races, which were far superior to their parents. In 1914, Signor Mari shifted his headquarters to Bangalore, and Mudaliar continued to carry out the breeding experiments in Channapatna Farm. In 1914 independent Department of Sericulture was established and Signor Washington Mari became the first Director of Sericulture. In 1919, Government hired the services of Japanese expert, Mr. Yonemura for conducting research and imparting training in sericulture. Government started Silk filature in 1922 and Silk weaving factory in 1931-32 at Mysore.

During later part of 1970s under ISDP and during 1980s under World Bank aided two sericulture projects Department of Sericulture took up extensive expansion programmes. Infrastructures like, grainages, Technical Service Centers cocoon markets, were established. This boosted the raw silk production to 9236 MT during 1997-98. Present status Directly and indirectly sericulture is providing jobs for about 10.67 lakh people. One hectare of Mulberry provides year long continuous job for 13 persons. Karnataka has well established Multivoltine and Bivoltine Seed areas. They cater to the demand of parental seed cocoons required for the production of cross breed and bivoltine hybrid layings. Almost 88% of Karnataka sericulture is spread in southern part of Karnataka, which is fast modernizing. Factors like urbanization, industrialization, depleting water table, scarcity of agriculture labour have affected sericulture in this part.