Exports of silk and silk goods declined by 16 per cent during the financial year ending March 21 on the drop in demand from countries in Europe and the US, the major markets for the Indian products.

Total exports of silk goods during 2020-21 stood at ₹1,466.60 crore as against ₹1,745.65 crore in 2019-20.

Silk fabrics and made-ups, which form a significant chunk of the silk goods exports, declined by 26 per cent to ₹729.50 crore during 2020-21 as against ₹982.91 crore. Similarly, the silk readymade garments (RMG) fell by around 11 per cent during the year. Silk RMG exports stood at ₹449.56 crore during 2020-21 as compared to ₹504.23 crore in the previous year.

Covid impact

The decline in silk fabrics, made-ups and RMGs are mainly attributed to the spread of the Covid pandemic in the key consuming regions of Europe and the US. During the pandemic time, buyers stayed away from silk products, which are considered a luxury. Besides a lower demand, the logistics issues that cropped up during the pandemic also impacted the shipments.

While the exports of silk fabrics, made-ups and RMGs took a beating, the shipments of raw silk and the natural silk yarn and silk waste increased during the period.

Silk waste shipments registered a 53 per cent increase during the year at ₹150.61 crore compared to ₹98.31 crore in the same period last year. Similarly, the natural yarn exports increased by around 79 per cent at ₹27.93 crore during 2020-21 as compared to ₹15.62 crore in the previous year. The natural yarn exports also registered an increase of 23.34 per cent at ₹1.43 crore as against ₹1.15 crore.

The exports of silk goods during April in the current financial year stood at ₹112.13 crore, the Parliament was informed recently. Domestic silk production has been coming down in recent years. During 2020-21, the silk production was down 5.5 per cent at 23,860 tonnes according to the provisional estimates compared to 25,239 tonnes in 2019-20 and 25,345 tonnes in 2018-19. India is the second-largest producer of silk after China. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Jharkhand, Assam and West Bengal are among the major producing states in the country.