Kesseru (Heteropanax fragrans )

12 June 2020
Amri Helping Hands Society local NGO in Amkachi Village got the opportunity to be one of the beneficiaries for the FY 2019-2020 to initiate Kesseru plantation project for ERI silkworm rearing in collaboration with Department of Sericulture, West Karbi Anglong District, Assam. We successfully completed the sampling plantation in the month of June 2nd week, 2020.
Eri silkworm primarily feeds on castor leaves, but sufficient castor leaves are not available throughout the years for commercial rearing. Therefore, Kesseru (Heteropanax fragrans Seem.) is used as an alternative food plant during the scarcity of castor leaves. It belongs to the family Araliaceae and it is soft wooded perennial tree grown in plain and as well as hilly tracts of north-eastern India. Since it is a perennial plant and the cost of plantation and leaf yield potential is better than castor.
The productive life of kesseru is more than 25 years and annual leaf yield per hectare is found almost 20-25 MT from a properly maintained farm. Moreover, Kesseru plant is less susceptible to disease and pests in comparison to castor. Kesseru feed silkworm produce small cocoons but they are compact with strong fibre. Therefore, systematic kesseru plantation is recommended and popularised among the farmers for large scale commercial eri silkworm rearing.
With an aim to create livelihood to local people AHHS along with the Department of Sericulture, WKA, KAAC took up the project wholeheartedly and sincerely implemented the project under their supervision.