Demand for raw silk in India has been on the rise, and reliance on Chinese imports has grown as a result. The Indian government has set a goal of making the nation self-sufficient in bivoltine silk, a high-grade variety made with silkworms that lay two batches of eggs per year, and has requested assistance from Japan in developing the necessary technologies. In response, the Japan International Cooperation Agency has provided technical cooperation to the country since 1991.
The successful introduction of bivoltine silkworms and the rise in the income of silkworm farmers taking part in the program have paved the way for the widespread adoption of bivoltine production techniques in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, which are centers for cocoon production, and the inauguration of the Project for Strengthening Extension System for Bivoltine Sericulture in India in 2002, which is designed to increase production of bivoltine silk and raise the income of silkworm farmers.
Fifteen years after the start of cooperation, what impact have Japanese sericulture techniques had on the lives of silkworm farmers?
Photos courtesy of Mika Tanimoto / JICA