Chawki Rearing Centre

Chawki rearing refers to rearing of young silkworms, from egg hatching up to the second moult stage, under controlled micro climate. The process of chawki rearing may be compared to nursery raising in horticulture and plantation crops. The purpose of chawki rearing is to grow quality silkworms under disease free environment, to reduce worm rearing duration, cost and to improve cocoon productivity at farmers’ level. The farmers generally buy silkworm eggs (DFLs) from grainages, either government or private, hatch and rear in their dwelling houses or in the silkworm rearing houses constructed separately. Quite often, the worms are affected by pests and diseases at the very young, vulnerable stage due to poor hygienic condition, especially when the rearing house is part of the farmers’ dwelling house. This apart, many farmers have difficulty providing suitable microclimate for hatching of eggs thus compromising on the quantity and quality of worms and, at times, resulting in staggered hatching and loss of worms during brushing (separating worms from eggs). This leads to poor cocoon yield. Also, the process from eggs to cocoon harvesting takes about 30 days involving cost of pest and disease management as well as feeding the worms with mulberry leaves. Alternatively, the farmers could purchase worms of about 8 days (2ndmoult) from Chawki Rearing Centers and rear them for the next 20 days. This helps farmers by making available healthy, uniform worms, saves rearing time by 10 days and hence saves cost of pest and disease management, and improves cocoon yield by about 20 to 25 per cent.

Promotion of CRCs by JSS KVK

Despite the fact that chawki worms carry the advantages of saving time, cost and increasing cocoon yield, there were hardly any CRCs operating in Mysore district until 2006. Some of the sericulture farmers who were aware of the utility of chawki worms were either resorting to careful handling of eggs or were buying chawki worms from the neighboring Mandya district. Yet, over 75 per cent of silkworm rearing farmers in the district were unable to get quality chawki worms. While CRCs are common in sericulturally advanced countries like China, Japan and Korea, the concept is yet to gain ground in India despite special efforts by ICAR under the Institution Village Linkage Programme (IVLP). Identifying the importance of CRCs for providing impetus to sericulture enterprise, JSS KVK initiated efforts of establishing CRCs in Mysore district in the year 2006 under the special SGSY scheme of the Government of India. JSS KVK intensified its efforts of promoting CRCs through farmers’ self-help groups (SHGs) in needy areas with the funding support from the Department of Bio-Technology (DBT), New Delhi in 2008. The project is being implemented since 2008 in two districts, Mysore and Chamarajanagar. So far, three CRCs have been initiated by the KVK, one each in Belagunda and Indavalu of Mysore district and one in Kuderu village of Chamarajanagar district. Two of the three CRS are being run by farmers’ Self-Help Groups (SHGs) whereas the one in Belagunda is being managed by the KVK. Two SHGs, consisting of 10 members each, are promoted in Indavalu and Kuderu villages. The 20 members were shown the operation of CRC at Belagunda and were given hands-on training at the KVK. The members were also trained on the skills of group management and marketing of chawki worms. The SHGs in Kuderu and Indavalu immediately established their won CRCs and started brushing 500 and 100 DFLs, to begin with. The three CRCs have now completed one year of successful operation and have reached a brushing capacity of 2500 (Kuderu), 7500 (Indavalu) and 2000 DFLs (Belagunda) per batch. At two batches every month, the three CRCs are brushing a total of 24,000 DFLs per month. Farmers from neighbouring villages are procuring chawki worms from the CRCs and the CRCs are also delivering the chawki worms at the doorsteps of farmers, on demand.

Slide Show of Chawki Rearing Centre Activities