Sericulture-based micro enterprise as a source of rural livelihood and poverty alleviation: A case study of Anantapur District (Andhra Pradesh)
Surayya T., Krishna Kumar KN., Sharma R., Kalra S., Kujur SS., Bala S., Basnyat B.
Sericulture is one of the integral parts of Indian agriculture. Being an agro-based industry it is highly suitable to the Indian rural people where large number of people are jobless, landless and labourers. It is mainly a labour-intensive programme requiring relatively low investment and acting as a source of survival and high profit earner. And it also accounts for a sizable quantum of foreign exchange earnings. An attempt was made to study the contributions of a Silk production Micro-Enterprise, for livelihood of rural people of select villages in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh State. Sericulture is an important economic activity of margainal and landless farmers (rural poor) in the Anantapur region. A farmer on an average, on a two and half acres piece of land with a total cost of Rs. 53250 (61 per cent of which is labour cost) can realise Rs. 93600 (76 per cent return on total cost) from sericulture cultivation whereas with a total cost of Rs. 23680 (49 per cent of which is labour cost) only Rs. 27000 (14 per cent return on cost) can be realised from paddy cultivation. As the area is drought-prone, the poor farmers preferring sericulture to paddy, and the other supply chain members like weavers and other value adders especially women, who are largely involved in the supply chain are, in need of financial and capacity building (for maintaining quality and effective designing) assistance, hence all possible assistance should be extended by the concerned agencies. A large chunk of consumer price spread ranging from 33.3 to 66.7 per cent, is accounted for middlemen with minimum risk, measures should be initiated to ensure that farmers and weavers who are also more risk bearers get their due share. Most of the weavers cannot access the banks for loans for entrepreneurial activities due to lack of physical collateral. Hence interventions like promotion of SHGs to meet the micro-financial requirement for value additions and provision for sophisticated cost-efficient value addition technology, should be initiated by Government and NGO agencies. Market linkages through weaver cluster formation etc., will enhance the benefits to the weavers.