Training of farmers
There are seven sericulture demonstration and training centers at Changa Manga, Faislabad, Sara-e-Alamgir, Sargodha, Head Marala, Chichawatni, Mian channu and Mitha Tiwana etc. where, rural folk is trained every year to adopt sericulture cottage industry as a source of their part time income. In addition to farmers, classes of students of educational institutions (schools, colleges and universities) often visit the Sericulture Demonstration and Training Centers for the purpose of education and training. The short duration of life cycle of silkworm and its meta-morphological changes and bio-synthesis of silk are major areas of interest for science students. On account of its short life span, the silkworm is commonly used as transgenic organism by researchers in Bio-technological sciences. The education and training is imparted preferably in silkworm rearing, disinfection of rearing sheds and mulberry cultivation techniques. In order to transfer the skill the demonstrations of basket making techniques are also carried out before the unskilled rural folk. The People going abroad for employment especially in Sericulturally advanced countries can avail of the opportunity of training in different aspects of sericulture as an additional skill for employment in silk industry abroad.
Commercial Silkworm Rearing
Commercial silkworm rearing is practised at farmer level during the spring season. Silk seed packets (12 to 14 grams) produced by sericulture Research Wing at PFRI Faislabad are distributed through the field staff of Sericulture Extension wing at nominal rates (Rs.300 to Rs.350) for commercial silkworm rearing. About 2000 to 3000 families are connected directly or indirectly with the business of sericulture in the rural areas of the province. The most active season for silkworm rearing and mulberry cultivation in Punjab is spring (January to April). During which silk seed packets are distributed among farmers for silkworm rearing. The whole process of silk production is completed within 30 to 35 days. A family consisting of 2 to 3 members having a common sized rural based house consisting of 2 to 3 common rooms or huts can rear 2 to 3 packets on average and earn Rs.10000 to 15000 from each silk seed packet within a period of one month. It is interesting to know that men and women of all ages can take part in silkworm rearing activity in addition to their normal business.
Basket Making and Twigs Products
The fleshy twigs are used to make various types of baskets, canopies, hats are very commonly used in vegetable, fruit markets, cold stores, fruit and vegetable farms, in construction works for loading & unloading, carriage of material etc. whereas canopies are erected in parks, gardens and house lawns for shadow and aesthetic purpose in rural and urban areas. The business of basket making is concentrated around irrigate plantation in such as Changa Manga, Faisalabad, Nankana, Sorgodha, Sialkot, Chichawatni, Khanewal and Multan.
HARVESTING AND MARKETING OF RAW SILK
It is not difficult to sell silk cocoon, usually silk reelers and silk contractors frequently visit farmers’ houses to purchase silk cocoon. Moreover, sericulture research wing also purchases good quality silk cocoon from farmers at competitive rates. The farmers, however, also bring their silk cocoon in silk markets such as Changa Manga and Chichawatni etc. The field staff of sericulture assist the farmers for selling of silk cocoon on competitive rates. Some of the expert farmers have arrangements for harvesting of silk thread at their houses which is directly sold to textile units at high prices (6000 to 10000 per Kg)
Fodder for Livestock
Highly proteineous, nutritive and lush green mulberry leaves have great potential of forage for livestock as they are highly palatable to milch animals. After silkworm rearing mulberry foliage can be available to milch animals as forage through careful browsing and lopping of plants.
Mulberry fruit has medicinal value and local pharmaceuticals prepare medicinal products from the fruit of mulberry such as “Sharbat-e-Toot Siah” which is very effective to cure cough and digestive ailments. Shahtoot commonly called as jaleba toot is grafted from hybrid mulberry roots which is available in the markets during spring season. Honey harvested from hives of mulberry plantations is comparatively liked by the honey users. Friendly insects like honey bees can be seen frequently in mulberry plantations during the spring season seem to collect pollens and nectar from the mulberry flowers/fruit
Biological weed control
The mulberry trees are shade tolerant and its under storey cultivation make a uniform thick canopy over the soil cover which is very useful to control almost all types of weeds especially Kana, Dib and mesquette etc. abundantly grow in agricultural and forest lands competing and suppressing the newly raised forests crops.
Timber for sports industry
The indigenous mulberry trees have great timber value for sports industry of the country. Wood of toot and willow is used for making cricket bats, wickets, hockeys, rackets and many other sports articles etc. The wood of desi toot is commonly used for making households, fire for stove burning in rural areas of the province.
In order to cover the premises of Dairy Farms, Livestock Farms, Farm Houses, Field Offices, Gardens, Parks and House lawns, vegetable and fruit Farms etc. fencing with mulberry plants is made through vegetative propagation. Mulberry stumps are planted linearly in rows at spacing 1' to 2' (plant to plant distance) during the spring season. After one year plant grow upto 5 to 6 feet on average. In order to give them the shape of fence, rows of plants are laterally and vertically cut at the height of 4' or 5'. The regular latero-vertical cutting of rows will give a thick fence after the period of 1 to 2 years. After every cutting mulberry plants increased their branches and leaves. 40 to 50 branches has been counted from an average shrub like mature plant.
Recreation and Hunting
Mulberry fruit with pleasant smell and sweet taste is a gift of spring season. The families of rural areas residing around the mulberry plantations frequently visit the mulberry plantations to eat and enjoy the fruit of mulberry trees. Mulberry fruit is also a source of attraction for local migratory and seasonal birds during the spring season. The Siberian winter visitors and local birds often come in mulberry plantations to eat mulberry fruit. They stay in these plantations during winter & spring, the people interested in hunting can enjoy hunting during the spring season in their mulberry plantations.
|Deputy Director Sericulture|
|Senior Research Officer|