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Seri-Business: Emerging entrepreneurship model in sericulture

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Emerging entrepreneurship model in sericulture

Naveed Hamid

Aina Bhat

 Sericulture is one of India’s and Asia’s oldest sectors. Sericulture is a labour-intensive and commercially desirable agro-cottage, a forest-based industry that falls under the cottage and small-scale market. The end product of this industry is silk. It is particularly well suited to rural residents employed in agriculture, entrepreneurs, and artisans because it needs minimal investment.

It provides income and jobs to the rural poor, especially small-scale farmers and other vulnerable and poorer members of society. Kashmir produces Mulberry and Tasar silk in a non-traditional sericulture state. The growth of bivoltine sericulture has been a priority sector of the Indian silk industry, but progress has yet to reach the targets. One of them is sericulture.

In the state of Jammu and Kashmir, sericulture holds a special place. This is India’s only conventional Univoltine belt capable of processing silk with qualities equal to the finest imported raw silk of standard quality available on foreign markets. Silkworm rearing offers part-time jobs to around 30,000 households, in addition to providing permanent employment to 5,000 people in the public sector. Furthermore, the silk industry employs about 10,000 full-time weavers in about 2,000 private sector units in the valley. As a result, almost 2.15 million workers are employed in this sector, either full-time or part-time. Until 1988, the silk industry was a state monopoly, and farmers received no revenue from the selling of cocoons at the government-set floor price. It was given much thought as to how to reclaim its former glory. The market was de-monopolized, and plant control was passed to farmers with permission to sell surplus leaves and earn money.

The Indian silk industry is one of the largest generators of employment and foreign exchange for the country as sericulture activities spread across 52,360 villages. India enjoys a unique global position in terms of the production of all commercially useful varieties of silk. India is the second-largest producer of silk. Sericulture provided employment to over 9.1 million people in India during FY19.

The Exports of silk and silk products from India reached US$ 291.36 million in 2018-19 and US$ 243.52 million in FY20 (till December 2019). Source: CSB Banglore.

Status of Indian Sericulture Industry

Raw Silk Production 35,468 MT
Employment: 9.2 Million
Size of the Industry Rs 15,000 crores
Credit Flow Rs 500 Crores
Export Earnings Rs. 2100 crores
Raw Silk Imports 3712 MT (Rs.1200 crores)

 

SWOT ANALYSIS

Strengths

  • Rich natural resources & favourable climate
  • Traditional avocation (way of life), rich design
  • Strong domestic demand-pull
  • Rich heritage of handloom weaving & designs
  • Produces all five commercial varieties of silk

Opportunities

  • Adequate domestic demand for output
  • Low investment & moderate returns
  • High labour cost of silk production in other
  • Nations give India a good opportunity
  • The sector is a huge employment provider
  • Availability of efficient m/c & technologies

Weaknesses

  • Highly unorganized & labour-intensive sector
  • Small producers and small converters
  • Primitive/traditional methods/technologies
  • Outdated machinery.
  • Age-old designs & motifs

Threats

  • Fluctuating international silk prices
  • China- the ‘big brother’ is always a threat
  • Inadequate resources at states’ disposal
  • Heavy dependence on a single product
  • Low capabilities of primary producers
  • Fluctuating market demand – recession

Entrepreneurship Concept

Entrepreneurship is a mindset that involves taking calculated chances and confidence in order to achieve a specific aim. It’s a hybrid ability that combines a number of strengths and characteristics. An entrepreneur is someone that has the drive to do or manufacture something unique, organizes production, takes chances, and handles the economic insecurity that comes with owning a company. The collection of such attributes the entrepreneur possesses is called entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship in Sericulture

Sericulture is the discipline and practice of silk production. Agriculture and associated farm operations have traditionally been important to the Indian economy. Sericulture, as an agro-based company, has a major impact on rural people’s economic prospects.

It has the potential to generate jobs, especially in rural areas. Sericulture is a multifaceted industry that includes food plant cultivation (mulberry leaf processing), silkworm rearing (cocoon production), silkworm egg production, silk reeling (yarn production), spinning, warp and weft production, printing and dyeing, weaving (fabric production), finishing, textile design, and marketing etc. The industry encompasses a wide range of on-farm and non-farm activities, necessitating a wide range of expertise, as well as a varied population of people, and bringing people from all walks of life together to work on silk processing. Sericulture is a year-round activity with a variety of career openings. Sericulture is a low-cost, high-yielding crop that produces five to six crops per year. With minimum upkeep, the mulberry plantation will yield reliably for the next 15-20 years. India currently earns over Rs 4,000 crores from the sale of silk fabrics, waste, and garments. Aside from high export potential, silk has a strong domestic demand and a strong handloom base combined with artisan abilities, which is India’s true strength of the Indian sericulture industry.

Sericulture has a significant socioeconomic effect and has the potential to change people’s lives by creating viable and long-term job opportunities. Since it entails a variety of methods, from mulberry plantation to silkworm rearing, spinning, spinning, and selling, it employs a vast number of people, including women. Sericulture has the potential to offer gainful jobs to more than 15 Lac citizens in the state if it is encouraged on a larger scale through value addition.

The various entrepreneurial opportunities in the sericulture industry starting from leaf to fabric production are hereunder discussed:

Raising high-yielding mulberry saplings, silkworm egg preparation and supply, Chawki rearing (young age silkworm rearing), cocoon processing, silk reeling, Zari manufacturing, sericulture byproduct recycling, cocoon and silk-based handicrafts, the silk trade, cocoon crafting and Pet Food, Protein diet foods, and so on.

It is clear that the sericulture industry provides outstanding job prospects as well as a variety of entrepreneurship opportunities. Sericulture, as an agro-based company, plays a significant role in determining the economic fate of rural people and fits well into India’s rural system, where agriculture remains the primary occupation. Sericulture provides job opportunities not only for rural residents but also for skilled youth in semiurban and urban areas. Sericulture development would undoubtedly result in a thriving rural by providing income-generating entrepreneurship opportunities, thus reducing poverty and halting rural-to-urban migration.

Suggestions for boosting the Entrepreneurship in Sericulture:

  • Up gradation of Departmental Nurseries/ farms to improve Mulberry saplings /leaf production
  • Cocoon and Silk yarn marketing support system to the local Reelers.
  • Enhancement in Cocoon Bank Revolving fund
  • Infrastructure development at Farmers’ level
  • Popularizing Multi cropping and green marketing
  • Incentive on cocoon and silk production to farmers/reelers
  • Infrastructure development/up-gradation support
  • Introduction of cocoon crop insurance scheme
  • Development of Integrated Silk parks.
  • Silk Branding push.
  • Private Sector Involvement.
  • R&D from Research Institutes with Skill developments through capacity buildings.

Encouraging the young talent to take up entrepreneurship as a career (Seri-Business)

To inspire young people to engage in entrepreneurship ventures, a variety of methods have been used. Many young people today have business ideas, but only a small percentage of them have the capacity and opportunity to transform such ideas into profitable enterprises. The ability of youth to transform their inventions into businesses is critical to the future of small business start-ups. The ability to recognize an advantage and put it to use is largely dependent on the youth’s willingness to engage in such entrepreneurial practices. Participation in entrepreneurial educational programs has a strong impact on the desire to launch a new company.

To make the dream business a reality, youths need inspiration from all stakeholders, including the government, lecturers, families, friends, and religious groups, either by funding or other support mechanisms. As a result, many young people who are willing to take the risk of starting a new business are concerned about access to resources such as funding and inspiration.

Starting a Seri-Business Startup

The phases of starting a profitable company begin with identifying the motivations or commitments for starting one. After acquiring such motives, the next step is to discover a viable idea. This idea must be attractive and validated on whether it can meet customer needs. The next step is to look for the necessary resources required such as materials, source of funding and quality suppliers. The final part is to apply the plan by getting into full business and then build a professional network to sustain the venture. This model is divided into four basic success components. These factors are idea and market, motivation and determination, resources and ability.

Emerging entrepreneurship model in sericulture

                             Entreprenurship activities Framework Model

 

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AgriBiz

Editorial | Modernise Horticulture 

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Modernise Horticulture 

The turbulent political situation in Jammu and Kashmir for about the past three decades has marred its economic development. From being a self-sufficient state in its economic needs once, J&K has now reached a situation where it always has to be dependent on the central funds.

More than 50% of its expenditures are met from the aid and grants provided by New Delhi. Besides, J&K each year raises hundreds of crores in the form of debt. It is becoming extremely difficult for the government to pay back the interest on this debt, not to talk of the debt itself.

The political situation created vested interests and inefficient governments always had something to blame to keep away from prioritising the economic and other developmental needs of the people. An economically weak J&K suited these vested interests, the planning and policies they made never had been for reaping the available resources of the UT. Rather, certain sectors, which are totally dependent and interlinked to external forces, were given priority over the sectors, which have been time tested in J&K and are mostly weathered to external conditions.

J&K in general and Kashmir, in particular, has been an agrarian economy for centuries. And the available natural resources in the state are fertile land, forests and an abundance of water added to temperate climatic conditions, which makes it one of the best-suited places for agriculture, horticulture and other related occupations in the world.

Though the majority of the people here are associated with this profession but the mode of their operations is still primitive with negligible use of technology. Despite that, it is the main contributor to the economy. According to recently issued government figures, yearly export returns from the fruits are about Rs 10,000 crore which is only next to government salaries. Kashmir valley supplies more than 70% of the total consumption of apples in India. But a Kashmir apple fetches only half of what a Himachal Apple gets. J&K has not enough post-harvest infrastructure available and processing of the fruits is happening at a very limited level.

There is no horticulture policy in the state like we have a policy for tourism. Neither there has been any bigger provision in the state budget for the horticulture industry, except for a few tax concessions and schemes introduced in recent years.

Some of the schemes introduced by the government, like high-density plantations look very promising and the results it has shown so far are encouraging. Similarly, the government has roped in some outside investments like that of NAFED for developing high-density orchards and creating infrastructure like cold storage. These tie-ups are very important and will provide the much-needed capital for modernising the horticulture sector in UT. But some farmers have shown scepticism saying that these same are being planned in such a way that will benefit the middlemen and businessmen rather than the farmers.

The UT administration must make sure that all the schemes are formulated in a way that their first priority must be to benefit the poor farmers instead of creating a class of middlemen.

No doubt the horticulture industry needs modern post-harvest technology, processing infrastructure and new marketing strategies. This is only possible if UT makes the sector a priority and there is a long-term policy for it, which particularly revolves around the farmers. Modernising horticulture is the only way to bring economic self-reliance to Jammu and Kashmir.

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At growers’ fingertips | SKUAST-K incubated tech startup revolutionising horticulture in Kashmir

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At growers' fingertips

Malik Nisar 

With an aim to make weather advisory, expert help, and irrigation management available to apple growers at their fingertips, data scientist and computational biologist Bahsarat Ahmad Bhat has come up with an artificial intelligence-driven support system for precision farming.

Apple Doc, the mobile application developed by Basharat, provides real-time information and expert help on the timing of irrigation, use of fertilisers and pesticides on the basis of soil testing, weather advisory and other required information on both Android and iOS platforms.

“The app empowers farmers to make the right decisions like what kind of farming approach to take based on the type of soil, what kind of chemicals fertilizer to use or avoid when to go for pesticides, and how to prepare for bad weather,” says Basharat, who has a postdoc in data science from the University of Otago, New Zealand. 

“This will help orchardists increase the apple production and cut the costs, particularly those incurred due to unnecessary pesticide sprays and mismanagement. The app is designed to include a slew of features for apple orchardists on all aspects of plant health and disease diagnosis, plant nutrition and orchard management.”

Instead of settling for a ‘good job’ in New Zealand, which provides many opportunities, in 2020, Basharat decided to come back to Kashmir to work on his idea to provide support to Kashmir’s orchardists. 

“I started working on this app in 2019 when an untimely rain affected more than 50% of the total apple production in Kashmir. I was in New Zealand at the time and decided to come back to develop a weather-based solution, which can provide information to farmers in real-time to avoid any kind of loss in apple production”

—  Basharat Ahmad Bhat, founder and developer, Apple Doc

“The idea behind this app was to bring some innovative steps and advancement in farming in Kashmir. From the last few years, farmers suffered a huge loss due to vagaries of weather and substandard pesticides, which spoil almost 50% of apple production,” says Basharat, while elaborating on the reason behind his idea.

“I started working on this app in 2019 when an untimely rain affected more than 50% of the total apple production in Kashmir. I was in New Zealand at the time and decided to come back to develop a weather-based solution, which can provide information to farmers in real-time to avoid any kind of loss in apple production,” he said.

Back in Kashmir while working as a research scientist at Sher-e- Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology of Kashmir (SKAUST-K), Basharat shared his idea with some faculty members, who not only honed his idea but also helped him to apply for the Government of India’s biotechnology startup grant. 

For his innovative idea of AppleDc, Basharat received Rs 50 lakh funding from Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council under Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIRAC BIG) scheme. Apple Doc startup is incubated by SKIIE Centre at SKUAST-K. 

Launched on March 7, 2022, at the event of the SKUAST-K technology exhibition and farm mela, Apple Doc is connected with satellite data. It provides orchard-specific data and tells a grower when to spry fertilizers and pesticides based on the weather of the area. It also directs him about the irrigation depending on the moisture requirement of an orchard. 

At growers' fingertips

The app’s weather advisory is based on satellite inputs and has very good accuracy. In addition to this, the app has roped in soil scientists, experts from Entomology, fruit science, pathology, and Agricultural methodology so that the best help can be provided. For the remote areas, it has connected with experts from district level Krishi Vigyan Kendra.

“I along with my team have tirelessly worked on Apple Doc to make it more successful although the app is very much new in the market, I am sure it will provide relief to the farming community of Kashmir. In this short period of time, the feedback from users is very much positive and I hope it will be more positive with each passing day,” says Bashrat.

“Apple Doc has helped us in many ways like what kind of pesticide should we use at what time and what kind of nutrients are beneficial for our soil, and many more things. We also fix the appointment with the agriculture experts and discuss our problem with them, then they provide solutions to those problems”

  —  Suhaib Shakeel, an orchardist from the Tral area of Pulwama

Inside Apple Doc App

Apple Doc is an Artificial intelligence-driven decision support system for precision apple farming. The App is available in the Google Play Store for all Android phones and the App Store for iOS phone users with a simple login interface to ensure ease of operation for farmers. A user just needs to enter the basic details to log in.

It provides customized and orchard specific advisories (Real-Time and Reliable) to apple orchardists on all aspects of plant health and disease diagnosis, plant nutrition, and apple orchard management.

Another useful feature of the App is that it provides Weather-based and orchard-specific advisories and also connects farmers with the experts through chat, Video calls and in-person visits.

Through this App, farmers can access local weather, and get good agricultural advice on the best quality sprays and best farming practices.

It also connects farmers with input suppliers, government schemes and banks for subsidies and schemes.

“The features of the application are well researched and well planned by our team. We went to almost every district of Kashmir. We did the survey; we chose a hundred farmers from each district and brought all the information. The goal was to provide a sustainable solution to the problems faced by the farmers in their farming over the years,” said Bashrat.

Testimonies

“Apple Doc has helped us in many ways like what kind of pesticide should we use at what time and what kind of nutrients are beneficial for our soil, and many more things. We also fix the appointment with the agriculture experts and discuss our problem with them, then they provide solutions to those problems,” said Suhaib Shakeel, an orchardist from the Tral area of Pulwama, who came to know about this app in a passenger vehicle during his travel to Srinagar.

“This App has provided much relief to us orchardists,” says Dr Rayees Rasool, an orchardist and Veterinary Doctor by profession from Chandpora village of Bijbehara in Anantnag district. “We are doing everything by following the advisory from the app and it has benefitted us a lot. We apply fertilizers and spray pesticides by taking advice from the experts through this app. Last year our apples got a lot of damage due to erratic weather and wrong spraying, but this year we are hopeful for better production due to Apple Doc,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir union territories’ economy is predominately agriculture dependent and nearly 70% of the population is directly or indirectly engaged in agriculture and allied occupations.

“Kashmir predominately being the agricultural land needs such kind of advancement in the sector to reap a good harvest and earn a decent amount of income. In the coming times we are planning to bring precision spraying using drone technology and more,” he concluded.

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Hailstorm damages orchards, vegetable crops in Tangmarg

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Hailstorm damages orchards vegetables
Tangmarg: Heavy winds accompanied by hailstorms wreaked havoc in various parts of the Tangmarg area of district Baramulla on Wednesday evening damaging orchards, vegetables and other standing crops.
Hailstorms lashed a number of Tangmarg villages including Chandil, Wanigam Buderkoot, Darhama, Kulhama, Tumberhama, Shrai, Check Treran, Druroo, Chandiloora, Ferozpora, Mahayaan, Dardpora Dev Pora, Check Frastreshi, Ganiwani, Kokerdejji, Chann Check, Zandpal, Manchikhod and its adjoining villages causing heavy damage to apple orchards and other crops, villagers said.
The residents said the hailstorm has severely damaged the crops causing losses worth lakhs to the farmers.
“The hailstorm has badly damaged the crops and hit the lone source of income of people in these villages,” said Sajad Ah Teli, a resident of Chandiloora.
Meanwhile affected farmers and apple growers have demanded compensation for the losses and requested the Lieutenant Governor for a quick assessment of the damaged products.
Farmers said lack of crop insurance leaves them in the lurch in times of natural calamities, be it hailstorm on standing crops or untimely snow.

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