India is the second largest producer of natural silk after China and is the only country producing all four varieties of natural silk: Mulberry, Tasar, Oak Tasar, Eri and Muga. This industry got great patronage during the medieval period. The famous ‘Silk Route’ passed through India, and Indian silk found markets worldwide.
Geographical Distribution of Silk Industry in India
It is the largest producer of silk in India. It 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.
Major centres: Tumkur, Dodballapur, Bangalore and Mysore
2. Tamil Nadu
This state is well known for its traditional silk sarees and dhoties woven on handlooms. It is also the leading state in the production of the bivoltine silk (white silk) for which there is very high demand in overseas markets.
Major centres: Dharmapuram, Salem, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli
3. Andhra Pradesh
It is one of the largest producer of mulberry silk in India and its strength lies in the large silk traditional weaving clusters like Dharmavaram, Hindupur and Pochampally. Hindupur is the silk city of Andhra Pradesh.
The state government provides a subsidy of up to 50 per cent to farmers for the construction of sheds, purchase of equipment, and for the setup of reeling units. The farmers breed bivoltaine and multi-voltaine races of silk worms, depending on climatic conditions.
Major centres: Karimnagar, Warangal, Mahbubnagar, Kurnool, Ongole, Adilabad, Dharmavaram, Hindupur and Pochampally
The silk handloom weavers of Bihar are facing stiff competition from power loom and mill sector due to high input cost, low productivity and availability of cheaper imported silk fabric etc. sluggish export market and capturing of export market by other major silk producing countries like china.
Major centres: Katihar and Bhagalpur
5. West Bengal
Silk Industry is an important agro-based cottage industry in this state. It produce 9% of total production of silk in country and all the 4 commercially produced varieties of silk - mulberry, tussar, eri and muga, are cultivated here.
Major centres: Malda, Murshidabad, Bankura