Around 12.5% of the state’s rural population live below the poverty line and still depend mainly on agricultural activities such as rice growing, fish farming or the fruit and vegetable harvest. Crafts are another widespread source of income. As a result of climate change, there has been a steady reduction in rainfall in recent years, resulting in aridity and a constant rise in average temperatures in the region. This is making fish farming increasingly difficult, so that other sources of income must be sought. One option is silk production, because the area has natural resources that make intensification of silk production possible. In addition, there is a long tradition of eri silk production in the region, which because of the positive product characteristics is well suited to the manufacture of naturally and sustainably produced textiles. The project aims to provide training for farmers, spinners and weavers in order to improve the quality of the yarn and the fabric. An increased supply will permanently boost demand and thus enable sustained production of eri silk. The increased demand will make a positive contribution to preservation of the traditional craft. To achieve these objectives, biological silk breeding has to be intensified, more effective hand spinning wheels and handlooms will be introduced and techniques for dyeing with native plants will be improved.
The project forms part of the programme ‘Climate change adaption – North-eastern region of India’ (CCA-NER).