Sericulture as career choice

Ranjan K Baruah
Fibre to fabric is possible in many ways. The north eastern region is full of handlooms with unique indigenous designs. To make the finished goods we need raw materials which can be produced locally and this is an area where many of our people may get engaged. Well, in today’s edition we shall inform our readers about sericulture and how it can be academic field of study as well as entrepreneurial activities. Sericulture is an agro-based industry and involves rearing of silkworms for the production of raw silk, which is the yarn obtained out of cocoons spun by certain species of insects.
In India, approximately 60 lakh persons are engaged in various sericulture activities. It can engage more number of people in rural areas and especially amongst communities who have been doing it for ages. The best part is it can be practiced even with very low land holding and an acre of mulberry garden and silkworm rearing can support a family of three without hiring labour. The silk is acquired from both insect and non-insect fauna. The insect fauna mostly comprises of mulberry and non-mulberry silkworms. In India, mulberry silk supply to an extent 75% and it is a natural fibre used in textile industry.
The Sericulture sector is unique in the sense that every stage involves art, science and technology interventions. Sericulture education has gained thrust in the country during XII Five Year Plan period to cater the needs of manpower in this sector. Sericulture is an upcoming higher education area to generate globally competent and professionally motivated technical human resources to man, the state Departments, Research and Development institutes and Industries. Assam Agriculture University has set of College of Sericulture at Titabor to impart education.  There are certificate courses and online courses available from different institutes.
The College of Sericulture, Titabar , Assam established in 2014 is about 25 km away from Jorhat (Presently being run from Assam Agriculture University ). The degree programme offered is B.Sc. (Hons) Sericulture of 8 semesters. The departments offering undergraduate courses are: Agriculture & Allied Subjects, Basic Sciences & Humanities, Cocoon Crop Production, Host Plant Production, Sericulture Crop Improvement and Silk Product Science.
After completing the course individuals may join government agencies like Silk Board, Sericulture Board or Ministry of Handloom, etc. There are scopes in research field as well as in marketing depending on the qualifications and skills of the candidates. More over people without having degrees may also become entrepreneurs after taking training and exposure with the help of different agencies and experts.
CSB: The Central Silk Board (CSB) is a Statutory Body, established during 1948, by an Act of Parliament (Act No.LXI of 1948). It functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, having head quarter at Bengaluru. The Board comprises 39 members appointed as per the powers and provisions conferred by Sub-Section 3 of Section 4 of the CSB Act 1948, for a period of 3 years. The Chairperson of the Board to be appointed by the Central Government and two officials to be nominated by the Central Government, one of whom shall be the head of the Silk Division in the Ministry of Textiles as the Vice-Chairperson and one shall be the Secretary of the Board, both being the officers not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government.
CMERTI: Central Muga Eri Research & Training Institute is a R&D institute in the field of muga and eri culture. It is under the control of Central Silk Board, Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India. The institute has been successfully undertaking entire gamut of R&D activities to cater the needs of the on-farm and post-cocoon sector of Muga and Eri sericulture. Muga and Eri culture is a rural based industry of all the North Eastern states and parts of West Bengal.
Ranjan K Baruah is a career mentor and can be reached at [email protected]  or 8473943734 for any career related queries