India is encouraging silk production in the Northeast. Projects worth Rs 690 crores are being implemented in the Northeastern states. Out of these, six are in Assam, one in Sikkim, two each in Meghalaya and Manipur and the rest in other states. The scheme is aimed at a holistic development of sericulture in all its spheres from plantation development to production of fabrics with value addition at every stage of the production chain.
The scheme is being implemented under two broad categories: Integrated Sericulture Development Project; and the Intensive Bivoltine Sericulture Development Project covering mulberry, eri and muga.
All four commercially exploited varieties of silk — mulberry, muga, eri and tasar — are produced in the north east and this region contributes about 21 per cent of the total silk production in the country. The mulberry farms in Meghalaya are almost a 100 years old, first set up by the British in 1925. Three districts in Meghalaya have been identified and an intensive awareness campaign will be launched to help draw back silkworm farmers to the trade. The British had identified Shillong as a center for rearing silkworms. So a Rs 29 crore project in mulberry production will be implemented.