Sericulture and Moriculture

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We have already discussed sericulture in detail in another article. So, in this article we will discuss sericulture in brief with emphasis on moriculture. 


What is Sericulture?

Natural fibres are obtained from plants and animals. Cotton, jute and flax are all plant fibres. While wool and silk are animal fibres. We get silk from silk moths or ‘silkworms.’ The rearing of silkworms for obtaining silk is called ‘sericulture’. Thus, the meaning of sericulture or silk farming is the cultivation of silkworms or silk moths to produce silk. Sericulture is a very old occupation in India. India is the 2nd largest producer of silk in the world after China and Karnataka is the largest producer of silk in India.  

We get silk fiber from silk-worm cocoons. Rearing silkworms for its silk cocoon to get silk fibre is very ancient. According to one legend, the story of silk began in 2640 BC. Si-Ling-Chi, a Chinese Empress, was walking around her garden while sipping a cup of tea when the cocoon of a silkworm fell into her cup. The cocoon soon began to unravel revealing a long silken fibre. When she looked up, she saw a Mulberry plant with several other cocoons hanging from it and a number of silkworms crawling around. This led her to conclude that the cocoon had come from the silkworm caterpillars. 

For 2500 years, the Chinese kept the art of making silk to themselves. They sold silk fabric but refused to reveal the secret of how the fabric was made. In spite of their secrecy, the knowledge of how to make silk reached Korea and India in 200 BC and 140 BC respectively.

Mulberry plants and mulberry leaves play an important role in sericulture. As female silkworms lay eggs on the leaf of mulberry plants and feed on the leaves as well. High yielding mulberry plants are chosen for moriculture. Proper maintenance and preservation of mulberry plants is required for good yield. 


What is Moriculture?

Sericulture is dependent on moriculture. Cultivation of mulberry plants in order to obtain feed for silkworms and to obtain silk is called moriculture. 

First time mulberry plant cultivation was carried out in 2800 BC by chin – nong. Raw silk industry is based on moriculture and sericulture. To increase silk production and cocoon production moriculture is an important process. Moriculture techniques have been improved with time to reduce production costs in sericulture. 

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Approximately 4,00,000 hectares of farmland is used for cultivation of mulberry plants. Each hectare of the land yields approximately 12000 – 15000 kg of mulberry leaves. Presently, production of mulberry leaves has been increased due to advanced techniques of cultivation of mulberry plants. Morus alba, morus indica, morus latifolia, morus nigra are the main four species of mulberry plant which are found in India.

 

Optimum Climatic Conditions for Moriculture

Mulberry plants may thrive under a wide range of climatic conditions. 24 to 28 ℃ temperature is suitable for optimum growth of mulberry plants. Although they give average yield at 18℃ - 24℃ temperatures as well. It grows well in the places which have annual rainfall of 600 – 2500 mm. It requires 350m3/ha water every ten days. Sunshine is the controlling factor of the growth of mulberry plants. It requires 9-13 hours of sunshine per day. 


Soil Conditions for Moriculture 

Clayey and loamy soils are suitable for mulberry plants. Soil should be deep, fertile and porous with good water holding capacity. Ideal pH for its best growth is 6.2 – 6.8. Land preparation for mulberry plant cultivation involves deep ploughing up to a depth of 30 – 35cm. 

Cultivation of Kanva – 2 of Morus indica is common in India for moriculture. Apart from Kanva – 2, S-36, S-54 etc. are also belongs to M. indica and used for moriculture. 


Spacing of Mulberry Plants 

Spacing of mulberry plants depends on the soil conditions. For black and heavy soils, 90 × 90 cm spacing. While for sloppy soil of hilly areas 120 × 60 cm spacing. 


Harvesting of Mulberry Leaves From the Plant 

Let the mulberry plants grow up to an optimum extent. After their optimum growth, mulberry leaves can be harvested and can be used as feed for silkworms. Mulberry leaves must be harvested at the right time as fully grown mulberry leaves contain less moisture than partially grown leaves. Leaf picking and branch cutting are the methods which are used in the harvesting of mulberry leaves. Another well known harvesting method of mulberry leaves is whole shoot harvesting. 


Fertilizers Used in Moriculture

It requires two doses of fertilizer in one season. Suphala fertilizer is used after two months of planting the mulberry saplings. During this time, weeding is also done. Second time weeding is done after 2 – 3 months of planting. 


Preservation of Leaves 

Mulberry leaves must be kept in a basket full of moisture. Basket should be lined with clean and wet cotton cloth. It should also be covered with wet and clean cloth. When preservation of mulberry leaves is done in bulk then preservation chambers are used. Moist and green mulberry leaves are suitable for feeding the silk moths. The leaves should be heaped loosely and periodically turned. By doing this aeration is provided to leaves for better preservation. Optimum temperature and humidity are required for preservation of mulberry leaves.   

Thus, we can conclude, moriculture is a method of cultivation of mulberry leaves to feed silk moths to produce silk. It is a subset of sericulture. It provides employment to many people as well. 

This ends our coverage on the topic “Sericulture and Moriculture”. We hope you enjoyed learning and were able to grasp the concepts. We hope after reading this article you will be able to solve problems based on the topic. If you are looking for solutions of NCERT Textbook problems based on this topic, then log on to Vedantu website or download Vedantu Learning App. By doing so, you will be able to access free PDFs of NCERT Solutions as well as Revision notes, Mock Tests and much more.