BENGALURU: Prices of cocoons have fallen more than 70%, leaving sericulture farmers in a massive distress from which they don’t expect to recover at least for another 18 months in the best-case scenario.

 

Value of cross-breed cocoons have touched Rs 130-Rs 150 per kg at present from Rs 480- Rs 500 in the beginning of March. Similarly, the value of superior high quality bivoltine cocoons stand at Rs 170 – Rs 220 at present compared to Rs 600 – Rs 700, according to the Sericulture Farmers’ Welfare Association.

 

Gautham Gowda, president, Sericulture Farmers’ Welfare Association, Ramanagara, told TOI, “Covid has ruined us. Going by the pace at which the economy is recovering and the trend of salary cuts and job losses, we don’t see the sales of silk picking up anytime soon. Most of the silk is used to make saris which are a luxury, and we want the government to take note of this.”

The freefall in prices and government apathy has prompted the farmers in Ramanagara to prepare for an agitation.

Gowda said they have decided to go on fast from Wednesday if the government doesn’t respond to them.

 

“The government has completely ignored us. We have not been considered for any relief and neither do we get any support. If the government doesn’t heed to our demands we will fast indefinitely,” Gowda said, adding that they would sit at the entrance of the Ramanagara cocoon market.

 

Gowda said that the farmers have already written to the department of sericulture and even the sericulture minister, but to no avail.

“The minister had met us once and promised that we would get help, but nothing has happened. The government must consider giving them Rs 50,000 per acre of mulberry cultivation,” he said, adding that the current market prices are lower than the input cost per kg.