Sukinda Chromite Mine (SCM) of Tata Steel, located in Jajpur district of Odisha, has come forward to take steps to conserve the indigenous silkworm breed Sukinda Ecorace.

Out of eight breeds of silkworms available in Odisha, hundreds of farmers in the region depend on tasar farming of Sukinda Ecorace for their livelihood.

However, since 2007 when Tasar Rearers Cooperative Society of Sukinda had reared Sukinda Ecorace, this is now rarely seen as another breed -Daba TV- has almost replaced it with more yields.

The natural habitat of superior Sukinda Ecorace breed is Sukinda region where the forest type is tropical moist deciduous and the soil type is red loamy, the company said in a release.

While experts of Pilot Project Centre (PPC), Sukinda, under Odisha’s Directorate of Textile and Regional Extension Centre of Central Silk Board (CSB), Baripada, have started working on conservation of the species, SCM has come forward to join hands with them to save this superior indigenous breed and promote biodiversity, it said.

Areas that need urgent intervention for it is being worked out, particularly identifying forest patches of the region where this breed is naturally available, facilitating more cocoon grainages and raising nursery for its primary food plants like Arjun (Terminalia Arjuna) and Asana (Terminalia Tomentosa) are also being explored.

Ajay Patra, Assistant Director, Sericulture, said it is a matter of concern for all as the population of Sukinda Ecorace has gone down drastically. Serious efforts are required to help conserve the specie.

Around 100 tasar farmers of Sukinda and Bamnipal area attended an interactive session with experts at Sukinda on Sunday.