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Day 81 – Q 3. What are the most important locational factors for the silk industry? Discuss. How is India placed with respect to these factors? Illustrate.

3. What are the most important locational factors for the silk industry? Discuss. How is India placed with respect to these factors? Illustrate.

रेशम उद्योग के लिए सबसे महत्वपूर्ण स्थानीय कारक क्या हैं? चर्चा करें। भारत इन कारकों के संबंध में कैसे स्थान पर है? उदाहरण देकर स्पष्ट करें।


India is the second largest producer of natural silk after China and is the only country producing all four varieties of natural silk: Mulberry, Tasar, Oak Tasar, Eri and Muga. This industry got great patronage during the medieval period. The famous ‘Silk Route’ passed through India, and Indian silk found markets worldwide.


Most important locational factors for the silk industry

  • Climate – Temperate and tropical climate suitable for growth many silk varieties. For instance Lower Yangtze valley produces one of the finest white mulberry silk. 
  • Labour – One important requirement for sericulture is cheap female labour. In the ancient-medieval times, both China and Japan had lots of poor peasants. Silk production become important source of income for them.
  • Skill and institutions – for instance Lyon city of France is important fashion centre due to skilled labor and also availability of fashion designers. 
  • Technology – Chinese scientists have developed hybrid varieties using Japanese and European silkworms. It is possible to rear silkworms seven times a year.
  • Raw material – Silk is easy to transport, non-perishable, non-bulky. Can be easily imported from China.
  • Natural silk is considered a luxury item and fashion statement among rich in US, Europe. Good demand of silk ties, scarves and lingerie. 
  • Investors found better returns in automobile and electronics industry. This has led to lack of investment in silk industry.
  • Alternate technologies – After WW1, Silk was in high demand for women’s stockings in USA but later cheaper stockings were locally produced using American nylon=market lost
  • Competition with other industries –One dramatic example is Koromo town of Japan. Their silk industry was on decline. However land and labour was available at cheap price. Toyota took the opportunity to setup factory. Thus a rural silk growing area turned into a major automobile industry.

How is India placed with respect to these factors?

  • Labour – Sericulture does not involve hard labour. Silkworms can be reared by women and old  people. In Eastern States, Farmers earlier used to grow Jute but Jute demand declined so they shifted to Sericulture.
  • Raw material – Mulberry grows easily due to climate Bombax variety of silk worm can be reared throughout the year. 
  • Technology – Karnataka uses hybrids of silkworm which can be harvested five to six times a year. However such varieties are not widely cultured all over the growing regions. 
  • Investment – Works on simple technology, no sophisticated equipment needed It can be done by small and marginal farmers, tribals.
  • Market – silk saree are still popular in India.
  • Skill and institutions – 
    • Central  Silk board located at Bangalore
    • Technical knowledge sharing by Japan Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA)


Way forward 

  • Establishment of close linkage between forward and backward sub-systems for greater efficiency and synergy as sericulture and silk industry is highly scattered and unorganized.
  • Adequate thrust on non-traditional uses of silk such as use for artificial skin and other medical applications could create a positive pressure for high value addition. 
  • Protection to some extent of Indian silk market from Chinese cheap raw silk and fabrics by implementation of anti-dumping duty. 
  • Identification and promotion of potential clusters for silk production in potential traditional and nontraditional areas. 
  • Skill up-gradation through structured and specially designed training programme. 
  • Evolution of appropriate cost-effective technologies through focused research projects for the development of superior and hybrid breeds.
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