• Assam State Rural Livelihoods Mission (ASRLM), Govt. of Assam



The Sericulture industry constitutes an important aspect and holds a unique position in the economy of Assam. This region of the country is a substantial producer of different kinds of silk and produces about 10% of the total natural silk produced in India. The weaving style of Assam is so unique that everyone falls in love with it. Mahatma Gandhi termed Assamese women as the “Weaving Wizard, which Weaves Dreams.” Assam has got a suitable climate and environment for practicing sericulture. There are three varieties of Silk Worms found in Assam, namely – 1. Muga Silk Worms, whose cocoon can be reeled, 2. Eri Silk Worms, whose cocoon can’t be reeled and 3. Part or Mulberry Silk Worms.

I. Muga Silk

Muga Silk is the most prestigious silk of Assam. This unique silk is mostly found in Assam only. The reason is – Muga Silk Worms cannot survive in any climate other than that of Assam or North East. The scientific name of Muga Silk Worm is “Anthera Assam.” Assamese people are very very proud of this silk. The color of this silk is “Golden,” that gives it the unique identity. Assam is the largest producer of this “Golden Silk” in the World. Muga Silk Worms are rared in almost all districts of Brahmaputra valley. According to Assam Government records, about 2625 hectares of land are utilised for production of Muga Silk, in Assam. About 30,000 Assamese households are related with Muga Silk production. There are 15 Muga Silk Reeling units in Assam. Sericulture department of Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat is doing various research and extension activities for development of Muga Silk Industry. Central Silk Board, India is also engaged in the development of Muga Silk.

II. Eri Silk

Eri Silk Worm rearing is a tradition of Assam from time immemorial. Eri silkworms feed on castor leaves, and the cocoon can’t be reeled. So it needs spinning! The rearing, spinning, and weaving of Eri Silk are carried out in almost all the districts of Assam. The total area under the cultivation of food plants of Eri Silk Worm is the state counts for about 2993 hectares. At present, the state has 21 Eri Silk Spinning training centers. There is also a Sup Silk Mill in Assam, located at Jagiroad. About 1.28 lakh families of Assam are engaged in the rearing and production of Muga Silk.

III. Part or Mulberry Silk

Part or Mulberry Silk also occupies an important place in Assam’s Sericulture. About, 40,000 families of the state are engaged in the production of Mulberry Silk. The total area under the cultivation of food plants for the mulberry silkworms is about 2300 hectares. In Assam, the Mulberry Silk Worm culture is practiced on a large scale in the districts of Upper Assam. Lakhimpur, Sibsagar, Dibrugarh, and Jorhat districts are the important producers of Mulberry Silk. To produce more and more mulberry silkworm seeds, the State Sericulture Department has also organized a systematic “Seed Organisation Programme.” A Cold Storage plant has also been set up in the Kamrup District of Assam for the preservation of Mulberry Silk Worm Seeds. Although silk is produced in almost every district of Assam, Sualkuchi is the main silk weaving center of Assam. Situated in the Kamrup district, Sualkuchi is also called as the “Manchester of the East.” Weavers in Sualkuchi produces amazing fabrics of Muga Silk as well as Mulberry Silk. Recently Government of Assam has also introduced the Oak Tassar in Assam. Hill areas of Assam are suitable for cultivation of Oak Tassar, as Oak trees grow in abundance there. In the two hill districts of Assam – Karbi Anglong and North Cachar, five Tassar Centres have been set up for the production of seeds and rearing of Oak Tassar.