Karnataka is the largest producer of silk in India. The state produces an average of around 8,200 metric tonnes of silk every year, which is about one-third of the total silk production in India. Up to November 2017, Karnataka has produced 5,962 metric tonnes of silk, which is about one-third of the Indian silk production. Mysuru and North Bengaluru in Karnataka are famous for their silks and are called the “Silk City” as they majorly contribute to the silk production in India.
India, being the second largest producer of silk after China, produces all the four varieties of silk – mulberry, muga, Tropical tasar, Oak tasar, and eri. Among the four varieties of silk produced in 2016-17, Mulberry accounts for 70.09% (21,273 MT), Tasar 10.77% India, being the second largest producer of silk after China, produces all the four varieties of silk – mulberry, muga, Tropical tasar, Oak tasar, and eri. Among the four varieties of silk produced in 2016-17, Mulberry accounts for 70.09% (21,273 MT), Tasar 10.77% (3,268 MT), Eri 18.58% (5,637 MT) and Muga 0.56% (170 MT) of the total raw silk production of 30,348 MT.
The production of silk depends on various factors like the weather conditions, land available to cultivate mulberry plants and breeding of around 10,000 silkworms in one-acre of land, for better yield. The water available for the rearing of silkworms is soft, free from iron and alkaline salts.
The sericulture is concentrated in the Mysuru, Kolar, Ramnagara, Bengaluru Rural, Chikkaballapura and Kolar districts of Karnataka. The districts of Kolar and Chikkaballapura accounted for the second and third largest area under mulberry respectively, under both rainfed and irrigation conditions. The employment generation in the country is raised to 8.51 million persons in 2016-17 compared to 8.25 million persons in 2015-16, indicating a growth of 3.15% by producing silk in the state.
As sericulture is a state subject, the Government of Karnataka has launched intensive programmes like Karnataka Sericulture Project with the assistance from the World Bank to develop sericulture industry in the state. The motive behind this initiative was to expand the silk production base and to provide a sound infrastructure to the silk industry. Recently, the Central Silk Board is planning to increase the area of sericulture to the non-sericulture zone in North Karnataka due to increasing global demand for silk. It will focus on expanding the mulberry cultivation in the state. This will make India self-reliant and there will not be any need to import any silk from China by 2020.