Udhampur (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], December 21 (ANI): Like all other sectors, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has also hit the Jammu and Kashmir sericulture, not just delaying the Udhampur Sericulture Department's cocoon auction by over two months, but also bringing the prices to almost half of last year's.
District Sericulture Officer Rajesh Gupta said that the delay has affected the quality of the cocoons too.
"The auction every year is held in the first week of May or June at the district sericulture office. But, this year due to the pandemic, the auction was started in July, in collaboration with Jammu and Kashmir Industries, when buyers from outside the Union Territory were not allowed to participate," Gupta said, adding now the market is open to all.
"We mainly have buyers from West Bengal. However, the delay affected the quality of the cocoon and the farmers are not getting the right price," he added.
The official further said that earlier they only purchased Grade-A and -B cocoons from the farmers for auction but now they are purchasing every grade of cocoon.
Even the prices have dropped considerably compared to last year.
Abu Bakar, a cocoon buyer from West Bengal, said last year the rate of the cocoon was Rs 1,000 to 1,200 per kg, but this year as demand has come down it is being sold for Rs 600 to 700 per kg. "Due to the COVID-19, silk cloths are not being sold like previous years," said Bakar.
Ganesh Kumar, a cocoon farmer from Kuh Nallah in Ramnagar area said due to the lockdown, they were unable to sell their produce. "I request the government to double the price." (ANI)