Imphal: In continuous efforts to provide alternative livelihood to the people in the state, Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh informed the state legislative assembly that his government is mulling to introduce mulberry farming to replace poppy plantations in the hills.
The CM informed the House that the Centre has sanctioned Rs 21.5 crore for construction of Eri Spun Silk Mill in the state, a step taken after taking into account experts’ opinion to boost silk production and improve sustainable livelihood to the people of the state, especially in the hill districts.
The Centre will also transfer Rs 11 crore to the beneficiaries of silk farmers directly into their Aadhaar-linked bank accounts, he said.
This was informed by CM Sinngh, who is also in charge of sericulture, on a query raised by MLA Kh Joykisan on the lack of policies for sericulture farmers.
Over the years, Manipur is recorded as the highest producer of Oak Tasar Silk across the country and highest in production of mulberry silk products in the entire Northeast.
Based on the performance on silk production, the central silk board has approved the implementation of Oak Tasar Silk at two locations in the state — Phaibung area in Senapati district and Nungsung area in Imphal East district, he said.
Illegal poppy cultivation for opium has been in existence for almost a decade. Despite law-enforcement agencies destroying hundreds of acres of poppy plantations, the practice of poppy farming is still rampant in the interior hill areas in the state.
However, with this new policy and government’s effort in building an eco-friendly environment by replacing the poppy plantation into mulberry plants may lead to a progressive state.
The state is also planning to introduce an alternative way of earning for silk farmers by rearing of poultry, piggery and other farming during off-seasons, the leader of the House said.