1/28/2016        Categories: Agriculture      Total Comments 5


Sericulture and silk production have an enormous potential in our country provided it is made available to rural people, especially women, and its marketing is organized independently.



Sericulture refers to the conscious mass-scale rearing of silk producing organisms to obtain silk.It can serve as an excellent mode for employment generation and augmentation of income. Sericulture suits both marginal and small-scale landholders because of its low investment, high assured returns, short gestation period and rich opportunities for enhancement of income and creation of family employment round the year.Sericulture is an income generating agro-enterprise in the mid hill region to alleviate poverty, through increasing rural women employment and their income, and thus, has been given due priority by Agriculture Perspective Plan (APP, 1995). This is a potential sector of the agriculture to raise economic status of the farming community and also earning foreign revenue.

The agro climatic conditions of 38 Districts of the Central Midlands of the Mid Hills altitude ranging from 750 to about 1500meter  (4,000 ft.) , the slopes and valleys between the Mahabharat range and Shiwalik ranges (Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys) are very suitable for sericulture. The low lands of Terai and the inner Terai (Dang and Chitwan valleys) ranging from 100 to 750 metre are ideally suited for the development of the sericulture in Nepal. Mulberry can be grown on a wide range of soils. Flat land or gently sloppy or undulating land gives good crop. The ideal temperature for silkworm rearing are 260 C to 270C and humidity conditions 70% to 90%.

Income is the most crucial index for accelerating economic growth and development in any meaningful developmental strategy. Women constitute more than fifty per cent of the world’s population, one third of the labour force, and perform nearly two thirds of all working hours. Women’s income in a family is of paramount importance for nutritional, economic and educational upliftment of the family. Changing times has brought new interests and responsibilities into a women’s life and it is now admitted that women’s income is indispensable not only for survival of individual families but for maintenance of wider socio-economic system.  Sericulture being a cottage industry provides ample work for the women in rural areas, while their male counterparts look after agriculture. Its unique nature of work proves to be an ideal activity for women who can engage themselves in this activity in addition to their regular tasks of taking care of family. Moreover, most its operations do not require hard labour, except digging and ploughing. Silk worm being delicate has to be handled with care. Thus, the entire process needs skill and patience, which suits women well.

It is an agro industry and plays an important role in the economic development of silk rearing pockets of rural Nepal providing gainful occupation to many people. One hectare of Mulberry generates employment of about 12 man years and family members ranging in age between 18 to 60 years can engage themselves in various Sericulture activities, such as, cultivation of food plants (Mulberry, castor etc., silkworm rearing, egg production, silk reeling, weaving etc. The demand for silk has always been high for a variety of fabrics ranging from sarees to shirting etc. Natural silk faces competition from artificial silk which is imported but consumers having set preferences for natural silk are not easily weaned away by artificial silk. Besides indigenous demand, there is a huge export demand of silk.Some terms  and technology used in sericulture  are given below:

  •  Soil and climate: Mulberry can be grown on a wide range of soils upto 4,000 ft. above MSL. Flat land or gently sloppy or undulating land gives good crop. The ideal temperature for silkworm rearing are 260 C to 270C and humidity conditions 70% to 90%.
  • Land preparation & planting: Land is ploughed to a depth of 35 to 40 cms. The soil is well pulverized and 20 tonnes of compost per hectare is mixed thoroughly well in the soil. Commonly, mulberry is cultivated by propagation by planting 2 budded cuttings of well developed branches from at least 8 months old mulberry plants at the commencement of the rainy season.
  •  Application of fertilisers & interculturing: Scientific cultivation of mulberry is the basic need of sericulture. Timely application of fertilizers, irrigation, weeding, hoeing, irrigation, plant protection measures etc. are very important for better plant growth and leaf yield. Application of fertilizers depends on soil test results and availabilities of irrigation water. However, on an average 250:125:125 kgs. of NPK per hectare is applied per year. First dose is applied 2 to 21/2 months after planting, second dose in the fourth month and subsequent doses immediately after each pruning.
  •  Pruning: Pruning is done to ensure vigorous growth of plants and for production of good quality leaves. Pruning operation is taken up when plants attain a height of about 2 meters and the stems/branches have attained a girth of not less than 2 cms at the bottom. 
  •  Mulberry Cultivation: Silkworms feed on mulberry leaves. Hence the rearing of silkworms involves cultivation of mulberry trees, which provide a regular supply of leaves. Worms are introduced through DFLs (Disease Free Layings, i.e. eggs) procured from a quality centre (called grainage).
  • Rearing: The silkworms are actually larvae of the silkmoth. They are reared in specially made trays in rooms with controlled temperature and humidity and regularly fed mulberry leaves. At a certain stage they convert themselves into cocoons. These cocoons are made from a single filament of material secreted by the pupa and wrapped around itself for protection. These filaments upon hardening constitute silk. On an average, 1 acre of plantation would yield 240 kg of cocoons in an year, starting from 100 DFLs. Depending upon whether it is dryland or irrigated mulberry, farmers can harvest the cocoons 4 to 8 times in an year.
  • Reeling: The removal of silk yarn from the cocoons is called reeling. This is done by first cooking them in water to remove the gum, which holds it together, and then unwinding the filaments (reeling). Usually 8-10 cocoons are reeled together. There are three methods for reeling: the charkha, the slightly more advanced cottage basin and the costly automatic machines.
  • Twisting: Prior to weaving, the raw silk is boiled in water to remove remaining gum, dyed and bleached, and then woven into the garment – usually on handloom. In some cases the woven cloth may be dyed and bleached.

Details of equipment required for Sericulture and their indicative cost: (i.e.Project economics)


I. FIRST YEAR Per annum /unit (Amount in Rs.)


(a) First crop

  • Farm Implements (Spade, Hoe, Khurpi; Baskets etc.) Rs.8,000.00
  • Compost 3,000.00 Fertilisers 1,500.00 
  • Interculturing & plant protection for 2 crop Rs.500x2 1,000.00
  • Pruning & misc. costs/expenses 1,500.00
  • Cost of equipments 8,000.00
  • Application of fertilizers 1,000.00

TOTAL  around Rs.21,500.00

(b) Second crop

  • Farm Implements (Spade, Hoe, Khurpi; Baskets etc.) Rs.2,000.00
  • Compost 3,000.00 Fertilisers 1,500.00 
  • Interculturing & plant protection for 2 crop Rs.500x2 1,000.00
  • Pruning & misc. costs/expenses 1,500.00

TOTAL: Around Rs.7000/-

(c) Third crop (same as second crop) 7,000.00

(d) Fourth crop (same as second crop) 7,000.00

Total expenditure for first year (four crops)[a+b+c+d]


B. Sales realisation

  • Value of 1500 kgs of cocoons from four crops (200 kgs per crop) @ Rs.70 per kg Rs.90,000.00
  • Less expenditure for first year Rs.42,000.00/-

Net return for First Year 49,000.00

II. SECOND YEAR (No need of cultivating Mulberry plant this year)


  1. First crop (as shown earlier) 21,000.00
  2. Second crop (as shown earlier) 7,000.00
  3. Third crop (as shown earlier) 7,000.00
  4. Fourth crop (as shown earlier) 7,000.00
  5. Fifth crop (as shown earlier) 7,000.00

Total expenditure for the second year for five crops 45,000.00/-

B. Sales realisation

  • (i) Value of 1875 kgs of cocoons from 5 crops (375 kgs per crop) @ Rs.70 per kg 1,31,250.00
  • (ii) Less expenditure during 2nd year Rs.45,000.00/-

Net return for Second Year onwards 69,250.00

From second year onwards, the farmer is likely to get a net annual return of Rs.69,000/- per hectare upto 12 years. 




Silkworm rearing or sericulture is the Eco-friendly activity that suitt the agro-ecological and socioeconomic status of the Nepalese people and had proven one of the best commodities for the rural livelihood improvement. That would cause sustainable development of the country with the use of recent technology and would definitely improve the living standard of people accelerating economic growth and development in any meaningful developmental strategy along with upliftment of women's status in the developing country like Nepal.So if we are able to commercialise it wih the optimum use of latest technology we are sure and certain about the poverty eradication of the country.

Target Location :

38 Districts of the Mid Hills and the inner Terai

Target Audience :

Sericulture can be considered as one of the most remunerative occupation for all categories of farmers, from a small/marginal farmer with meager resources to a large farmer. Well suited to the small and marginal farmers who are below poverty line and it can emerge as the most important opportunity in generating women’s income. It is the least resource intensive activity, which also does not require high education.

Scope :

Benefit :

In sericulture, nothing goes waste. Its by-products are useful in many ways. Mulberry leaves and shoots left by the silkworms form fodder for cattle and increases their milk yield. The maligned pupae are used in the preparation of dog biscuits, oil, etc. The oil and protein powder extracted from the dead pupae can be utilized in manufacturing soaps and baking industries respectively. It forms a rich food in poultry, fishery and piggery. The silkworm’s excreta can be used as manure. The rational utilization and disposal of such by-products helps the Seri culturists to enhance their economic gainsThe major portion of income from sericulture is captured by the primary producers, i.e., farmers who produce cocoons, followed by the traders, weavers, twisters and reelers

So overall benefits can be listed as:

  • High employment potential: Generate kind of employment especially in rural area. Hence, sericulture is used as a tool for rural reconstruction.
  • Provides vibrancy to village economics: Gross value of silk fabrics flows back to the cocoon growers with share of income to different groups under cocoon grower, reeler, twister, weaver and trade.
  • Low gestation, High returns:
  • Women friendly occupation:
  • Ideal program  for weaker section of the society.
  • Eco-friendly activity.
  • Satisfies equity concerns.



Early Feedbacks from People:

For me sericulture has been a topic of great interest, so I was highly delighted when I got a chance to be a part of Ideachallenge. I  After my idea was posted here, a lot of good feedbacks were there from my friends and family. They have highly motivated me about this concept, helped me in visiting the field and guided me in collection of the information and in learning process.

Business Plan

Estimated Human Resources :

1.    For small/family scale: Members of a family are sufficient.

2.   For large scale human resources can be estimated depending upon the land for mulberry cultivation, number of silk worm rearing-houses.


Purpose :

Sericulture is one such activity that can not only increase the income of the people, but can also generate employment opportunities, particularly for women. And it will go a long way in increasing the income of the respondents and raising their standard of living.It is capable of creating employment as well as alleviating poverty for large sections of population in the country.Nepal is a region of immense diversity. Sericulture suits both marginal and small-scale landholders because of its low investment, high assured returns, short gestation period and rich opportunities for enhancement of income and creation of family employment round the year. The net returns in case of Mulberry sericulture (when a farmer has one acre of Mulberry plantation using family labor) is estimated at about Rs 98,000/- per annum, which is substantially high compared to that of other tropical crops. Also it is an activity, which does not depend on season, but can be carried out throughout the year.


Problem :

Various types of occupational disorders are associated with silk industry such as, respiratory disorders, injuries, eyesight problems, nerve disorders, and carcinogenic skin problems. Most of these health risk factors can be avoided by proper precautions.The problems in sericulture can be categorised under the following topics:

1.Problems related to health of the farmer during the process of working:

  • Illness caused by unhygienic conditions of rearing:Unhygienic conditions due to accumulation of unutilized leaves and silkworm excreta pose health risk. Any negligence of hygiene leads to silkworm mortality due to two main diseases Grasserie & Flacherie. The dead silkworms, if not removed immediately, putrify and cause illness among rearers. 
  • Health Risk from Bleaching powder:Contact of bleaching powder with skin and eyes may cause severe injury, burns or death. Use of Only 2% solution is recommended for washing trays and rearing rooms
  • Health risk factors in mulberry plantationRisk from 2,4-D Amine used for broad leaf Dicot weeds:Over the past 40 years, dozens of studies have shown the connection between 2,4-D and cancers of the blood
  • leaf-spot disease in mulberry

2.Climatic problems:

  • Heat problem during summer season: More or extreme heat cause the disease and death of eggs, silkworms.

3.Comercialisation problem:

  • Transportation Problem
  • Marketing Problems



Solution :

  • The mulberry crop should be regularly irrigated for better yield and quality
  • Awareness programme and local group discussions are essential for improving the health status of these workers.
  • There must be some provision of protecting equipments such as face masks, first aid facility, gloves and proper uniform. Silk mark protects the interests of consumers, who are being cheated by traders by selling spurious products in the name of silk.

Timeline :

First/second Months:

  •  Selection of Land: Select flat or slightly sloppy, fertile, porous, loamy land.
  •  Prepare land by deep hoeing/ploughing 2-3 times up to a depth of 30-40 cm in order to loosen the soil and make a fine tilth of the soil. Leave the soil expose to sun shine in order to kill the weeds and soil born insects.
  •  Plant Mulberry saplings rain fed condition.:Raise Mulberry plantation by planting cutting or saplings.

Third Month:

  • Fertilizers application in irrigated mulberry.
  • Construction of silkworm rearing house.

Fourth month:

  •  Harvest leaves by picking after 10 weeks of pruning.
  • Coupling of moths:  Collect the healthy female moths in the morning and tie with cotton thread 8 to 10 cm long (5am to 10pm). 8 hours mating is sufficient for successful result.
  • One female moth lays 150-250 eggs. Use smaller and perforated paper packets for transporting individual Disease Free Eggs to basket.
  • Rearing: They are reared in specially made trays in rooms with controlled temperature and humidity and regularly fed mulberry leaves. During 2/3 days of eggs they convert themselves into cocoons. Wait for hatching eggs. After eggs are hatched small size worms appear.
  • Seed cocoons are to be transported after 6 to 9 days of spinning after attaining the brown pupal stage. Use bamboo mountage or plastic mountage. Feed the healthy Mulberry leafs for 7/8 days. Then worms start to make cocoons around it.
  • Storage of seed cocoons: Store seed cocoons in a single layer to facilitate moth emergence. Maintain a temperature of 260-280C & 80-85% relative humidity inside the grainages hall.

Fifth month:

Cooking of Mulberry cocoons: There are two systems of cooking for two different systems of reeling namely ‘Floating system’ and ‘Shunken system’.

i.  For ‘Floating system’ of reeling, cocoons are cooked only to the extent the silk shell becomes wet but still impervious to water so that they float in water when the cooked cocoons are put into the reeling basin.

ii. In ‘Shunken system’ of reeling, not only the shell is cooked but also the cocoon also gets filled with water inside to the extent of 97-98% with the Result that the cocoons becomes heavy and sinks in the reeling water.

Sixth Month: Marketing or selling of cocoons or further process it to silk yarn.

Market Research :

The demand for silk has always been high for a variety of fabrics ranging from sarees to shirting etc. Natural silk faces competition from artificial silk which is imported but consumers having set preferences for natural silk are not easily weaned away by artificial silk. Besides indigenous demand, there is a huge export demand and Indian silk is popular all over the world. Silk earns considerable foreign exchange for the country. Sericulture Development Division Nepal provides assistance for marketing. The government of Nepal has established “Trade and Export promotion Centre”, a national trade promotion organization of the country in November 2006, as a focal point, with the objective of promoting foreign trade in general and export trade in particular. So with assistance of it Silk can also be exported to foreign country with the governmental procedure. Fortunately, there are various organization that work under Sericulture Association of Nepal.

Intended Customer :

Currently silk Board Purchases the cocoons from farmers. The customers here doesn’t means individuals, but various silk trading companies and cloth making industries which would buy the silk cocoons for further processing, for cloths making or export it to foreign market.However creation of post-cocoon activities can encourage farmers to produce more cocoons as well as entry of new farmers.This means further processing of cocoons i.e.Reeling(The removal of silk yarn from the cocoons is called reeling),and Twisting and weaving it into expensive cloth. can be done which will increase price to the farmers

Technology Required :

Requirements will depend on the functions and stages of the process being undertaken.Variations and innovations are also possible.

An illustrative list with typical costs is given. Prices are only indicative. Rate ( in Rs.)

A. Machines or equipment for sericulture.

  1. Rearing Trays (3.5’ bamboo) -30
  2. Rearing stands-300
  3. Ant wells-5
  4. Feeding working stands-50
  5. Leaf chambers-350
  6. Leaf chopping boards-60
  7. Leaf chopping knives-50
  8. Thermometers-50
  9. Hygrometers-200
  10. Sprayers (foot operated)-1000
  11. Mats-25
  12. Reeling/Spinning machine-4,000
  13. Handlooms-5,000
  14. Warping and other accessories-25,000

B. Other technologies:

  1. Transportation technology
  2. Hand book containing details about sericulture.
  3. Website can be designed depending upon its requirement.

 C. Moreover for large scale business following tools are also recommended:

  • Mulberry Pruning Machine - This machine can prune one acre of mulberry garden in five hours.
  • Machine for preparation of Cuttings - It facilitates quick preparation of  cuttings (around 2000 cuttings per hour).
  • Cocoon Deflossing Machine - The machine can defloss 50 - 60 kg cocoons per hour.
  • Shoot crushing Machine - This device is efficient in cutting and crushing 250 - 300 kg shoots per hour.
  • Powder Duster - It aids the application of chemical dusts such as RKO and Vijetha over silkworms without any drift loss.
  • Litter separator - The machine is effective in separating leftover leaves and litter for use in biogas plants to generate biogas. This biogas is used for reeling purposes as well as domestic use.
  • Machine for chopping of mulberry leaves - This motor-driven machine cuts around 40 kg leaves per hour.
  • Electric Sprayer - Fitted with a steel pump and 15 metre hose, the sprayer discharges around 250 liters of disinfectant per hour.
  • Hand Deflossing machine - It can defloss about 15 kg cocoons per hour.
  • Matures silkworm separator - The motorized machine can separate about 35,000 matured silkworm larvae in around two hours. This facilitates quick mounting.
  • Frames for plastic montages - This instrument is useful in maintaining the shape and size of plastic montages. It also allows farmers to hang montages for proper aeration.
  • Device for holding and packing the plastic mountages - It helps to preserve the shape and size of plastic mountages after cocooning.
  • Cocoon-cutting machine - The motorized machine helps in sex separation in grainages. It can also cut more than 6000 cocoons per hour.

Minimum Investment Required :

NPR. 42000.0000

Maximum Investment Required :

NPR. 70000.0000

Estimated Profit Per Year :

NPR. 62500.00

5 Comments on “Sericulture in Nepal”

  • Santosh Bimali
    Santosh Bimali   (1/28/2016)

    Nice .it would be good if we implement it

  • Prakash bhattarai
    Prakash bhattarai   (1/28/2016)


  • Saroj Gautam
    Saroj Gautam   (1/29/2016)

    Its a simple idea which ought to be prioritized n commercialized but other has taken just easy n not concerned about which will surely uplift the economy n eradicate the poverty,,,,hope iit will be get implemented as soon as possible....tq for ur idea

  • sanjog Limbu
    sanjog Limbu   (1/29/2016)

    yes. If we could implement specially in Himalayan and hilly regions not only the resources will be utilized but also the people will be engaged in it as a chance of employment and surely the people of that area will be benefited...

  • dinesh gautam
    dinesh gautam   (2/4/2016)

    old but best if new idea and technology are added in this concept......

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