Mills to face sugarcane crisis

October 26, 2009

Ahead of beginning of the sugarcane crushing season, the government is worried about the availability of sugarcane to run the 15 state-owned sugar mills.
The Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation has announced that sugarcane crushing at the government-owned mills would begin on November 13.
The season will be inaugurated on the day at the North Bengal Sugar Mills in Nature while 14 other mills will start their wheels within the next two weeks, said the officials.
With nearly three weeks to go before the beginning of the season, the officials of BSFIC, which is under industries ministry, are worried for not getting enough sugarcane that can keep the mills running even for two months.
Usually, the crushing continues for nearly four months.
‘The number of farmers coming to mills for crushing enquiry this year is less than last year,’ a senior official of corporation told New Age on Sunday.
‘We fear that actual availability of sugarcane may be much lesser than we have targeted. Sugarcane cultivation has reduced so drastically last year that many mills will not get enough canes to continue crushing even for two months,’ he added.
The BSFIC has set a target to produce 1,01,525 metric tonnes of sugar by crushing 13.30 lakh metric tonnes of sugarcane in the upcoming season. 100 kilogram of sugarcane produce about 7.63 kilogram of sugar.
The crushing target was 22.72 lakh metric tonnes while target of sugar production was 1,73,100 metric tonnes during the last season.
But, owing to availability of sugarcane, the mills could only produce 75,000 tonnes.
The BSFIC was informed by the mill authorities that the sugarcane framers in large number diverted to other crops including rice, wheat and maize due to their high price in last two seasons.
But, a corporation official said, ‘We have been informed that declined price of rice and other grains have again allured farmers to sugarcane in the current sowing season. So, sugar production in the next season will be higher.’
Sugarcane sowing season usually starts in August and continues till the middle of November.
The BSFIC has increased the price of sugarcane. Price of per maund (37.3 kg) sugarcane at the mill gates will be increased to Tk 80 from Tk 66 while the price will be increased to Tk 77 from Tk 64.5 for outside procurement.
However, the revised price, intended to encourage farmers for cultivating more sugarcane, will be effective from next year’s procurement.
Sources at the Industries Ministry, told New Age that the ministry would seek corporation of law enforcing agencies in all mill areas as they help strict prevention of gur production.
Gur productions in officially prohibited in certain radius of the mills but every year gur manufacturers consume good quantities of sugarcanes by alluring farmers with prices more little bit that the government set price.

Courtesy of NewAgebd

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