Participatory Intervention Series
Paper 3 MYRADA Krishi Vigyan Kendra
Talamalai, Talavadi 638 461.
Sathyamangalam Taluk,
Erode District
Sericulture Service Centres: A Concept
From 1988 onwards, MYRADA has been promoting mulberry cultivation and silkworm rearing in the Talavadi Project Area under both rainfed and (to a lesser extent) irrigated farming conditions, with financial assistance mobilised mainly from the Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) and the National Sericulture Project (NSP). From September 1992 onwards, this work has been continued by the MYRADA Krishi Vigyan Kendra (MKVK). The concept of growing rainfed mulberry has received a good response from the people since it has resulted in a marked increase of income over ragi (finger millet), which is the main crop in the area. The annual increase in acreage under mulberry cultivation in the last five years is as under:
1990 – 1991 : 86.30 acres
1991 – 1992 : 145.50 acres
1992 – 1993 : 140.00 acres
1993 – 1994 : 109.05 acres
1994 – 1995 : 91.00 acres
Total : 571.85 acres
The cultivators are all small and marginal farmers. Individual ownership of land under mulberry ranges from 0.25 acres to 2.0 acres. As the programme picked up and started spreading, farmers began to express problems in purchasing, storing and maintaining the various pieces of equipment needed for silkworm rearing. In order of priority, the problems related to :
a> Mountages (Chandrikas)
b> Sprayers
c> Trays, and
d> Uzi Nets.
Table 1 shows the costs involved in purchasing these materials, and the number of days they are in use per crop.
Item Cost Per Unit No. of Units Required Per Crop of 100 dfls No. of Days in Use per Crop No. of Days in Use per Year (4 crops in drylands) Cost if farmer has to buy on own
Mountages Rs.110* 35 units 5 days 20 days Rs.3,850/- * Price at Chamarajnagar which is the closest purchase point. Price excludes transportation.
Trays Rs.40 40 units 25 days 100 days Rs.1,600/- Trays are of bamboo.
Purchased at Chamarajnagar.
Excludes transportation.
Rs.1,800 1 unit Rearing room is sprayed at the start of each rearing.
The Garden is sprayedonly when required. Rs.1,800/- Gutter sprayers can be used on garden as well as rearing
Uzi Net Rs.10 to Rs.12 per metre Depends on room 22 days 88 days
Others Some centres purchase disinfection materials when required.
Trays and Uzi nets are needed for longer durations by every sericulturist. Hence, farmers prefer to buy them rather than borrow them.
The expenses involved in making individual purchases and storing all the equipment was frequently discussed by the farmers at their Credit Management Groups (CMGs) and Self Help Groups (SHGs) meetings. Since MYRADA staff also regularly attend these group meetings, the problem was known to all. These discussions gave rise to the idea of the Sericulture Service Centre.
In an area with a significant number of small sericulturists, it was proposed that a centre could be opened where some basic equipment needed for sericultural activities could be purchased and kept. The concerned SHG, or a person named by the SHG, would be entrusted with the task of keeping these materials and issuing them on rent to individual farmers whenever they required them. The rent collected would be regularly deposited in the SHG account and used to repair or replace the equipment when necessary and also buy other sericultural provisions needed by the farmers. This idea received an enthusiastic response.
The first centre was opened in Eratti village. This centre started by servicing 5 villages which included Madathur and Kadai Eratti. In 1993, as the area under sericulture increased, a separate centre was opened in Madathur by dividing a part of the Eratti Centre assets and procuring fresh materials as well. Recently, in May 1995, a new centre has been opened separately for Kadai Eratti. Similar patterns can be seen in some of the other villages also. Listed below is the order in which the centres have started:
June 1990 Eratti August 1991 Bhutalapuram
February 1991 Ganapathipalayam April 1992 Tamarakarai
March 1991 Mavallam March 1993 Tadasalatti
April 1991 Elachipalayam October 1993 Madathur
Pavalakuttai November 1994 Honganapuram
June 1991 Germalam December 1994 Talavadi Hosur
Solathur May 1995 Bejjalapalya
Odamandai Kadai Eratti
Table 2 gives more details of these Centres. While the initial cost of asset creation was borne by MYRADA, a total income of Rs.28,884.40, has been earned by the centres upto now, which has been put back into purchase of more sericulture related materials as well as to advance loans to farmers through the SHGs to meet some of their immediate credit needs.
A few basic rules have been established for the running of the centres that are variously modified and applied by each centre.
a. Each centre has nominated one person from amongst its members to manage the issue and return of equipment. In some centres Rs.0.20 to 0.50 per chandrika/tray borrowed goes to this person; in other centres the service is performed voluntarily. In one centre (Mavallam) the person is paid a monthly sum of Rs.10/-. All other income earned goes into the group fund.
b. In case several farmers request for materials at the same time, issues are made on first-come first-served basis. Indent books are also kept in which requisitions are recorded in the order in which they are received.
c. If there is a delay in returning the borrowed materials, rent is collected for the extra days.
d. If materials are returned in seriously damaged condition, the group recovers the full cost from the concerned member.
e. The following books are maintained to monitor the transactions of the Sericulture
Service Centres: Stock Book, Indent and Issue Book, Cash Book and Receipt Book.
However, it is currently a fact that in many of the Centres the systems of bookkeeping are yet to be properly established and followed. This is an important requirement that cannot be ignored as it can lead to problems at a later date.
Advantages of the Centres as expressed by farmers :
“Our expenditure is minimised, since we can borrow the necessary equipment at nominal cost.”
“We are also making efforts to buy our own equipment, but that takes time since we do not have the money to buy all the equipment at once. We are gradually acquiring them, but until such time, the short fall in equipment is met by the Centre. Very useful for us”.
“Earlier also we were borrowing equipment from private sources but we had to bring them from long distances. Now that problem has been solved”.
“The hire charges add to our SHG Common Fund and we use it to give loans amongst ourselves for buying disease free layings, disinfectants, etc”.
From MYRADA’s point of view the Centres are also playing other useful roles: they have served to bring sericulturists together for exchange of views and experiences. More importantly, they are serving as a point of contact for sericulture scientists to acquaint farmers with recent developments in sericulture and moriculture.
Table 2 does illustrate the fact that though the concept of Sericulture Service Centres has picked up well in Talavadi, all Centres are not uniform in their performance. Motivated sericulturists, and good leadership are important factors in determining how a centre performs,and MYRADA KVK is striving to develop these qualities through regular SHG training programmes.
MYRADA does not see the Sericulture Service Centres as a permanent fixture in the lives of these sericulturists; the centres are more in the nature of an interim arrangement to help new sericulturists manage their enterprise until such time that they build up their own working capital and stock of assets. The level of needs and motivation of the sericulturists will determine the roles that these centres will continue to perform for as long as required. For MYRADA, it is one more example of establishing and developing appropriate local level institutions for programme management.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The MYRADA Krishi Vigyan Kendra at Talamalai started functioning from October 1, 1992 with the support of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The Kendra is committed to the concept of facilitating participatory processes andpromoting innovations. Through the MKVK Participatory Intervention Series we attempt to share our experiences from time to time withother field functionaries. We welcome your views and suggestions on how we can add more value to our work. MYRADA’s address atBangalore is: No.2, Service Road, Domlur Layout, BANGALORE 560 071.