Central Muga Eri Research & Training Institute is a R&D institute in the field of muga and eri culture. It is under the control of Central Silk Board, Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India. The institute has been successfully undertaking entire gamut of R&D activities to cater the needs of the on-farm and post-cocoon sector of Muga and Eri sericulture. Muga and Eri culture is a rural based industry of all the North Eastern states and parts of West Bengal.
Ericulture, of late, has spread to other parts of the country owing to its gainful additional income generating potential to the castor and tapioca cultivators. In recent years, infrastructural facilities have been strengthened in the institute for conducting basic and applied research in the frontier areas. The priority of the research activities is based on the evaluation of cost effective technologies towards increasing the productivity of Muga and Eri silkworms and thereby transforming these cultures from the state of traditional culture to a profit making and sustainable enterprises.
Muga, the golden silk is a wonderful gift of nature, known for its glossy fine texture and durability. Due to its low porosity, the Muga yarn cannot be bleached or dyed and its natural golden color is retained. This silk can be hand-washed with its luster increasing after every wash. The silk is obtained from semi domesticated silk worm viz. Antheraea assamensis. The Muga mekhela-chador is a traditional dress of Assamese women for Bihu dances and weddings. It is in demand in Japan to make kimonos, and also high demand in countries like U.S., Greece, Germany, South Africa and France. The golden-yellow Muga silk of Assam has been granted Geographical Indication (GI) registration by the GI Registry in Chennai. It has been identified as a silk of given quality, reputation and characteristic, attributable to the geographical area of Assam since time immemorial.
Eri silk, also known as Endi or Errandi, is a spun from open-ended cocoons, unlike other varieties of silk. Eri silk is the product of the domesticated multivoltine silkworm, Samia ricini that feeds mainly on castor leaves. This silk behaves like cotton and warmth like wool. Due to its coarseness, eri silk yarn can be blended with other yarns and made suitable for manufacturing of all varieties of fabrics, lighter to heavy fabrics, inner ware, dress material, ornamental fabric, thicker fabric like chadder, wall hangings, furnishings and hosiery fabric etc.
North Eastern Region of India with tropical to temperate climate holds indomitable positions in the global sericultural map having all the four varieties of silk viz. Mulberry, Oak Tasar, Eri and Muga. Sericulture in this region provides gainful occupation to nearly about 1.80 lakh families. However, the strength of the region lies mainly with muga and eri culture. Eri culture is mainly practiced in Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur of North East India. Of course, now-a-days this culture is spreading to certain non-traditional states of India viz., Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa and Sikkim. The largest share (above 90%) of eri silk production of India is contributed from N.E. India and it shares 77% of the total non-mulberry raw silk produced in the country.
In producing golden yellow muga silk, Assam, the easternmost state of the Indian Union, has the unique distinction, though wild counterpart of muga silkworm is found in the foothills of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. A good number of allied species of Antheraea are also found in NE India in their natural habitat.
In order to provide R&D support in muga and eri silk industry in North East India, Central Silk Board (CSB), Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India established Central Muga Eri Research Station at Titabar, Assam in 1972, which was later bifurcated into Regional Sericultural Research Station, Titabar for mulberry research and Regional Muga Research Station (shifted to Boko) during 1982 for exclusive research on muga. Again during 1987, CSB established an exclusive Research and Training Institute for muga and named as Central Muga Research & Training Institute at Lahdoigarh, Jorhat. It came into being as a full-fledged Research & Training Institute in 1999 and during the same year, it was renamed as Central Muga Eri Research & Training Institute with a mandate to serve as the apex R&D institute for both muga and eri.