Six sugar mills including Shampur in Rangpur have been closed. So, concerned authorities have decided to sell the sugarcane produced in the mill zone area to the running sugar mills located in the surrounding areas.
However, there is uncertainty among the farmers as to when they will get the price for the sugarcanes. So, sugarcane growers and a class of traders have started making molasses by threshing sugarcane with a power crusher machine.
Visiting the mill zone area it was seen that due to the closure of sugar mills, molasses mills have been set up in Rangpur region.
Traders are making molasses by buying sugarcane from farmers and threshing it in a crusher machine. Some farmers are producing molasses by buying machines themselves.
To produce molasses in that process first the juice is collected from the sugarcane by using threshing machines. The juice is then put in a pan on a large furnace and heated to produce molasses.
Molasses is being produced by threshing sugarcane in different places including Auliaganj, Kutubpur of Badarganj and Balua Masumpur, Padaganj, Shampur of Mithapukur, Magura, Thakurdas Lakshmipur, Boro Falia, Babanpur and Alampur of Bara Alampur Union under Pirganj Upazila.
Sugarcane farmers Jahangir Hossain, Shafiqul Islam and many others from Shampur area said that they have cultivated sugarcane on their own land. “Since the mill is closed, we are making molasses by threshing sugarcane in the machine. They said that at least 6 mounds of molasses can be made in a day”, they added.
Samshuzzaman, a farmer in the area, said he had planted sugarcane on two acres of land. According to the rules, the sugarcane has to be sold in Joypurhat. However, there is no guarantee as to when the money will be available. So he has prepared to make molasses by threshing sugarcane. Sugarcane threshing with power crusher saves both money and labor in molasses production, he added.
Saidur Rahman of Magura village, a sugarcane farmer in Pirganj said, “We are in danger by cultivating sugarcane. I have been working hard for a year and planted sugarcane. The sugar mill authorities bought the crop as per their wishes.”
Mofazzal Hossain of Alampur village said, “We used to cultivate sugarcane with a loan from a sugar mill. Now that the sugar mill is closed, we sell molasses in the market to meet our demand. In this way we will be able to see the face of profit as well as cultivate new crops in that land in time. He is also threshing molasses by buying sugarcane from other farmers at the rate of Tk 180. It was decided to close Shampur, Kushtia, Pabna, Panchagarh, Rangpur (Mahimaganj) and Setabganj (Dinajpur) sugar mills in Badarganj of Rangpur from last year on the instructions of Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation.