Career in Sericulture
Sericulture is the technique of silk production. It is an agro – industry, playing an eminent role in Rural Economy. Silk fibre is a protein produced from the silk – glands of the silk worms. In India, over three million people are, employed in various fields of sericulture. It is a cottage industry and provides ample work for the women in the rural areas in rearing silkworms while men work in the fields. Innovative researches by the institutes have shown that mulberry cultivation and silkworm rearing have turned sericulture into an industry. It has become a major cash crop for the country.
India is the second largest producer of raw silk after China and the biggest consumer of raw silk and silk fabrics. The Trends in international silk production suggests that sericulture has better prospects for growth in the developing countries rather than in the developed countries. Silk production in temperate countries like Japan, South Korea, USSR etc., is declining steadily not only because of the high cost of labour and heavy industrialization in these countries, but also due to climatic restrictions imposed on it.
But, India because of its tropical climate, has a distinct advantage of practicing sericulture all through the Year, yielding a stream of about 4 – 6 crops. Sericulture is a farm – based, labour intensive and commercially attractive economic activity falling under the cottage and small – scale sector. It particularly suits rural – based farmers, entrepreneurs and artisans, as it requires low investment but, has potential for relatively higher returns. It provides income and employment to the rural poor especially farmers with small land – holdings and the marginalized and weaker sections of the society.
Several socio – economic studies have shown that the benefit – cost ratio in sericulture is highest among comparable agricultural crops. In such a scenario, it has better prospects for the youths to adopt sericulture and its related activities as a career. India is a home to a vast variety of silk because of diversity of silk moths. This has enabled India to achieve the unique distinction of being a producer of all the five commercially traded varieties of natural silks namely, Mulberry, Tropical Tasar, Oak Tasar, Eri and Muga Silk obtained from sources other than mulberry are generally termed as non – mulberry or Vanya Silks.
The bulk of the commercial silk produced in the world is mulberry silk that comes from the domesticated silkworm, Bombyx mori L. which feeds solely on the leaves of the mulberry plant. Tasar silk is copperish in colour and is mainly used for furnishing and interior decorations and secreted by the Tropical Tasar silkworm, Antheraea mylitta which thrives on Asan and Arjun trees.
Oak Tasar is a finer variety of Tasar produced by the temperate Tasar silkworm, Antheraea which feeds on natural oak plants and is found in abundance in the sub – Himalayan belt. Eri silk is spun from open – ended cocoons and secreted by the domesticated silkworm, Samia cynthia ricini feeds mainly on castor leaves.
Muga silk is golden yellow in colour and is exclusively produced in Assam. Muga silk is secreted by Antheraea assama that feeds on aromatic leaves of naturally growing Som and Sualu plants. In India where agriculture being the occupation of majority of population residing in the countryside new innovation in the field of agricultural techniques can play a vital role in improving the economic conditions of the masses if proper attention is given to it.
Sericulture, which needs less investment, small land holdings and higher returns, can provide best career options to the job seekers and entrepreneurs. India has a large domestic market for silk goods and about 85% of silk goods produced are sold in the domestic market. However, India exports approximately 15% of its output of all types of silk goods.
The export of silk products has shown a steady growth and the export earnings have also increased during the last decade. In such a scenario, exploitation of silk market will really give India a boost in the economic field and new openings in such a growing sector will really, become a boon for the job – seekers.
Sericulture Education :
To become a Sericulture graduate one has to pass 4 Year degree course from Sericulture college of Agricultural Universities or Silk Institutes.
Two kinds of degrees are offered in Sericulture :
- B.Sc ( Sericulture )
- B.Sc Silk Technology ( Sericulture )
Candidates with 10+2 ( Physics, Chemistry & Biology ) Science, can apply for admission in the 4 Year Sericulture Degree Courses. B.Sc ( Sericulture ) and B.Sc Silk Technology ( Sericulture ) involves courses such as silk worm rearing, grainage, silk worm breeding and genetics. Silk Reeling, Spinning and Silk Grading, Testing and Seed Technology also form the part of the curriculum.
Diseases and Pests of Silk Worm and Food Plants, Production Planning and Extension, Costing and Management, Silk Weaving Technology, Silk Dyeing, Printing and Spinning Technology are also taught to the candidates during their courses. In the Final Year emphasise is laid upon imparting practical experiences for setting up / dealing with Sericulture Farm / Silk Reeling Unit / Weaving and Dyeing / Printing Units etc. B.Sc ( Sericulture ) / B.Sc. ( Sericulture Technology ) passed out candidates can apply for M.Sc ( Sericulture ) / Silk Technology Courses.
Eligibility for the Courses in Sericulture :
- For admission in Undergraduate Courses – 10+2 with Science.
- For admission in Postgraduate Courses – Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture, Sericulture or any other Agricultural field.
Duration of the Course :
Undergraduate Courses are of 4 Years duration and Post Graduate Courses are completed in 2 Years.
Institutes / Universities offering Courses in Sericulture :
- Central Sericultural Research & Training Institute, Mysore.
- Sher – e – Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology Jammu.
- Shivaji University Kolhapur.
- University of Agricultural Sciences, Gandhi Krishi Vigyana Kendra, Campus Bangalore.
Jobs / Opening in Sericulture :
- Sericulture Graduates / Post Graduates can be employed as Sericulture Director under the Department of Industry in State Governments.
- Four – Year B.Sc Silk Technology / B.Sc ( Sericulture ) or PG Diploma in Sericulture holder can apply for Project Manager ( Sericulture ), Assistant Director ( Sericulture ), Research Officer and Sericulture Inspectors.
- Sericulture graduates with experience can find jobs as Supervisor in Sericulture Units.
- Candidates with 2 Year Inter Vocational Course and 1 Year Apprenticeship Training from government can find jobs as Farm Technicians / Grainage Technicians.
- 10th Pass with one Year Certificate course in Sericulture can be employed as Rearer ( Sericulture ).
Opportunities for Sericulturists in Academic Fields :
- Lecturer ( Sericulture ) : M.Sc. ( Sericulture ) / Four Year B.Sc degree in Silk Technology ( Sericulture ) can apply for lecturer in Sericulture.
- Instructor ( Sericulture ) : 4 Year B.Sc degree in Silk Technology ( Sericulture ) are eligible for applying for the post of Instructors.
- Lab Assistant : B.Sc ( Sericulture ) or PG Diploma in Sericulture.
Job Opportunities in Other Fields :
Development Officer in State / District Khadi Board. There are various posts in Central government agencies like Central Export Promotion Council / FAQ / NABARD / Krishi Vigyan Kendra / Silk Board etc.
Job Opportunities in Banks :
Sericulture Graduates / Post Graduates can be employed as Field Officers, Managers in Agriculture Loan Sections in Nationalized and Private Banks.
Jobs in Private Sectors / NGOs :
- As a Managers in Sericulture Farms, Grainage, Silk Reeling / Silk Weaving Mills, Dyeing, Printing and Spinning Mills / Industries etc.
- Can be employed as Sericulture Managers in various Central Government sponsored schemes like SGSY, Welfare departments run by NGOs etc.
Self – Employment Opportunities in Sericulture : Sericulturalists can set up their own Enterprises or can start up as Entrepreneurs.