Bangladesh once was self-sufficient in sugar. On top of it, our sugar mills used to produce high quality rum and brandy from sugar that enjoyed good export market in Europe. Foreign nationals used to look for these products when in Bangladesh. Sugar made from sugarcane of Bangladesh origin was a coveted item once when the mills used to run in full steam during the season. In the very beginning, sugar contained brown elements but with the adaptation of modern technology it turned crystal white through further refinement.
But, unfortunately, through decades of corruption, lack of maintenance and manipulation by inside elements, sugar production turned into a loss sector. Old and outdated machinery are almost on the verge of collapse now. As a result, we have to importsugar at a high cost from abroad. It is needless to say that during festival periods, especially during Ramadan the demand of sugar rises manifold.
There are 15 sugar mills
under the Bangladesh Sugar
and Food Industries Corporation,
all of which are incurring
huge loss every year
It is however good news that the present government has taken initiatives to make state-run sugar mills profitable by keeping them operational throughout the year. Currently, there are 15 sugar mills under the Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation, all of which are incurring huge loss every year. Report say that these mills usually remain idle for 8-9 months a year when it is not crushing season but mill authority has to pay salaries of the workers and officials.
According to media reports, the government has taken up a project in the North Bengal Sugar Mill to produce electricity and white sugar during the off-season through a co-generation system. Furthermore, the Planning Commission has given permission to include production of distillery, biogas and bio-compost plant using the by-products of the sugar mills under the project. Once the project is implemented, sugar harvesting will be increased, while its quality will be improved in addition to increased production.
There is no denying the fact that increased production of sugar is achievable through optimized use of the machinery and infrastructures of the sugar mills in the interest of the country.