After Jackfruit Mission, Mushroom Mission, Milk Mission and Aroma Mission, Meghalaya Government launched another mission, the ‘Meghalaya Muga Mission’ to promote and give value addition to ‘muga’ silk in the state.
The Meghalaya ‘Muga mission’ was launched by Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma on 28 May 2019 with an aim to boost ‘muga’ production over the next five years. The muga silkworm rearing is found only in the Northeastern region of the country, mainly in the Brahmaputra Valley and in the foothills of Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. In Meghalaya, muga is traditionally cultivated in West Khasi hills, East Garo hills, North Garo Hills, West Garo Hills and Ri-Bhoi districts. The mission entails a financial implication of more than Rs 138 crore from 2019 to 2024.
A muga farmer requires at least an acre of land to cultivate about 450 muga host plants. About 10,000 muga cocoons can generate about 2 kg of raw silk, producing 21 sq. metres of silk cloth, from which one can obtain six pieces of muga silk jaiñsem which will take about 75 days, to get the finished product from a single loom. The mission aims to cater the needs of the farmers, reelers and silk weavers which thereby, will boost production. Through the mission, around 1,350 farmers will be identified as beneficiaries in 34 blocks across different districts. Many areas under these blocks have been identified as congenial for practicing muga culture, and where muga culture has been traditionally practiced.
Speaking during the launch programme, the Chief Minister said, that the North Eastern region has a rich history and culture attached to ‘muga silk’ and the identity of the region as a silk producing province goes back centuries. He added the ‘Muga Mission’, ‘muga silk’ production in the State would receive the much needed leverage and direction with a funding of close to 130 crores from multiple sources over a period of five years. He also informed the gathering that a ‘Muga Farmers’ Training Centre would be set up at Resubelpara, North Garo Hills to facilitate scientific training and equip the farmers with the necessary skill sets. The Meghalaya Chief Minister also released the ‘Muga’ Mission Document. Conrad said, the state government would soon roll out MeghaMart, an online platform to facilitate the sale and purchase of products sourced from local entrepreneurs. The Government has prepared a database of 2,000 enterprises and more than 10,000 products that will be available through the website. It will be the Amazon for Meghalaya made products. Through this mission farmers will tie up with industry partners, fashion houses and designers to give a major boost to muga industries.
Additional Chief Secretary K.N. Kumar while speaking during the program said that most of the raw silk is sold to Assam which has, over the years, positioned itself as the geographically indicated region for muga silk, leading to a huge price mark up for the same in the neighbouring state. The investment of more than Rs 138 crore would be used for area expansion, development of infrastructure, building of human capital and inputs for developing final finished products, including its sale and marketing. Kumar said the target output in the next four to five years would be 43 metric tonnes.
Reeta Kamble Rabha
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