Weavers of eri silk in Meghalaya have a big reason to celebrate. The German Association for International Collaboration (Giz) has tied up with a Leipzig-based firm, Seidentraum, to create a market in Europe for eri silk made by weavers in Meghalaya.
The advantage of Meghalaya’s eri silk is that it is organic. Its farming is carried out without the use of herbicides and pesticides. There is no use of chemicals in rearing the eri cocoons either.
Under the climate-change adaptation project of Giz, supported by the Government of Meghalaya, Seidentraum will procure silk from the weavers to make high-end fabrics, including baby products, initially for the German market.
A development agency under the German Government, Giz has been associated with capacity-building and training programmes for women weavers, primarily in Ri Bhoi district, over the past three years, training them to be innovative with their designs. In the current phase, it plans to link the weavers to overseas markets.
‘Currently, we are testing the German market in association with Seidentraum for the Ri Bhoi eri silk,’ project director Uwe Scholz said.
‘Ri Bhoi’s eri silk is very soft in texture and because of its high quality, is suitable for markets in Europe. Seidentraum will buy eri cloth from the weavers and make baby products for clients in Germany and elsewhere,’ Indrani Phukan, Deputy Project Director (Climate Change Adaptation, Northeastern Region)
Giz in Other Northeast States
Giz is mandated to work in Sikkim, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh too. In Nagaland, they have a plan to work with muga silk weavers. In Sikkim, they will be trying to extract honey without breaking the hive. The Association has carried out scoping missions in the partner States in areas such as organic agriculture, bamboo, eri, dried fruit and piggery.