Rangpur sugar producers fear losses | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 21, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 21, 2011

Rangpur sugar producers fear losses

Sugar millers in Rangpur fear huge losses this year due to a fall in sugarcane production.
Officials of Shyampur Sugar Mill said they may not get their required amount of sugarcane this season as some local illegal molasses makers are grabbing most of the canes.
Locals said there are some illegal traders who have started producing over 775 tonnes of molasses a day using around 300 crushing machines.
Rahman Mondol, a sugarcane farmer at Nisbetganj under Rangpur Sadar upazila, said he sells sugarcane at Tk 93.30 per maund to Shyampur Sugar Mill while he gets Tk 200-Tk 250 if the molasses makers buy his produce.
Mondol said the molasses traders also pay them in advance to cultivate sugarcane for which the farmers show reluctance to sell the raw material for sugar to the mill.
Because of this, the local mill hiked its cane purchasing rate to achieve its sugar production target.
The mill will start crushing sugarcane on December 9, said Rafiqul Islam, managing director of the mill.
"We aim to crush around 50,000 tonnes of sugarcane this year to produce 3,988 tonnes of sugar. We fixed the rate of sugarcane at Tk 250 for per quintal and at Tk 93.30 for per maund, which was Tk 83.10 for per maund last season."
He said they are also providing seeds, fertiliser and technological support along with other incentives to the cane growers. "But we got poor response from the growers."
Islam said the mill also counted huge losses in previous years.
"Shortfall in sugarcane production in Rangpur district and increment of other expenditures compelled us to run the mill for shorter periods than our regular schedule," he said.
He said they delayed sugarcane crushing this year due to the fall in the cane's production.
The official said sugar price should be revised urgently, as sugar is sold at Tk 58 a kg at the mill gate while a kg of molasses is sold nearly at Tk 75 in the market.
Siddik Ali, acting general manager of the mill, said they may have to close the mill if the situation continues for a few years.
Some growers in Rangpur division also stopped growing sugarcane due to low price of their produce. Some have involved themselves in farming rice and other crops for an alternative living.
Some cane farmers started extracting molasses from their product instead of selling those to others.

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