- Europe:Silk demand vs Supply
- Japan: No labour + No market
- China: Why Top Silk producer?
- India: Labour+market
- Karnataka: factors
- Kanchipuram: factors
In this article, we’ll examine the Geographical factors affecting location of Silk Industry.
- One important requirement for sericulture = cheap female labour.
- In the ancient-medieval times, both China and Japan had lot of poor peasants. Silk production=source of side-income for them.
- Later, sericulture was even introduced in Europe (France, Italy).
- But, French and Italian peasants were used to higher standard of living, they were unwilling to undertake such painstaking work for little reward.
- France- in the mid 1800s, a disease wiped out most of silkworms, sericulture industry could never recover. Thus, France has no local production of silk, yet Lyon city is famous for its silk garments. Why?
Sericulture was even introduced in America but failed because lack of labor and better opportunities in other crops. Example
- Virginia: sericulture was tried but, farmers found better income in Tobacco.
- Georgia: farmers tried sericulture but found better returns in cotton- even for using cheap Slave labour (recall the Georgia falls in the “Southern cotton belt”)
For long, Japan was a major producer of silk, but today it doesn’t even produce 0.5% silk in world. So, What factors caused decline of Silk industry in Japan?
|Factor||how did it lead to decline?|
|Labour||younger generation of peasant /weavers shifted to industrial sector for higher wages.|
|Capital||Investors found better returns in automobile and electronics industry= lack of investment in silk industry.|
Today, only two big players in Silk-production: China and India. Quoting the numbers from Central silk board, India:
|Jap, Brazil, Thailand, Vietnam||each has 0.5% or less|
|Technology||Chinese scientists developed hybrid varieties using Japanese and European silkworms. It is possible to rear silkworms seven times a year.|
|Labour||China was the first country to start sericulture =labour is abundant and skilled. For additional income, they combine Sericulture with fish rearing in the Pearl-River valley=Mulberry leaves fed to Silkworm and dead silkworms fed to Fishes.|
- India grows all important varieties of silk: Mulberry, Tasar, Oak Tasar, Eri and Muga
- But demand >greater than> production. So even we have to import from china. (particularly bivoltine mulberry silk )
|mainly in Southern states
+ WB and JK
|Raw Material||Mulberry plants
=works well in non-green revolution, non-irrigated areas of East and NE India.
|Labor||Sericulture does not involve hard labor.Silkworms can be reared by women and old people=sideincome.In Eastern States, Farmers earlier used to grow Jute but Jute demand declined so they shifted to Sericulture.|
|Capital||works on simple technology, no sophisticated equipment neededcan be done by small and marginal farmers, tribals.|
|factor||how does it help?|
|Raw material||Mulberry grows easily due to climateBombax variety of silk worm can be reared throughout the yearKarnataka uses hybrids of silkworm= can harvest five to six times a year.|
|Water||Soft water, Free from iron and alkaline salts.|
|Capital||During WW2, entire production of Mysore silk was used for parachute manufacture. Hence silk prices escalated, good profit, more area brought under cultivation.(Recall how American War of Independence helped in expansion of Mumbai textile industry)|
Within India, Kanchipuram region is most famous for Silk industry, Why?
|factor||how does it help?|
|Raw material||Raw silk from KarnatakaZari threads from Surat, Gujarat(raw silk=lightweight, non-perishable)|
|Water||Softwater from River Vegavathi.|
|Labour||generations of silk weavers=skilled|
|Market||Still good demand for Silk Saris in India.|
In the Next article, we’ll see factors affecting the location of Wool and Jute industry.