Recently, a government body has ordered the authorities concerned to focus their efforts in reviving the struggling sugar industry. The parliamentary standing committee on industries ministry strongly recommended immediate removal of all employees or officials working in the sugar industry who are engaged in irregularities or corruption.
It also recommended stopping of overtime bills for the employees if and when the operation of any sugar factory is terminated. The state-owned sugar factories are currently suffering massive losses due to inefficiency in production. Moreover, the heavily subsidized mills fail to meet local demand of sugar due to a scarcity in the raw materials, i.e., sugarcane. The government has to resort to the private sector to meet the demand for sugar.
The dying sugar industry is a
testament to the lack of
efficiency and resources
in this sector
The production costs increase as the mills sit idle for most of the season due to a lack of sugarcane in the country. The country’s sugarcane production has steadily declined in recent years as farmers prefer to cultivate other cash crops. Low market price as well as the time required to harvest the crops are big factors behind farmers abandoning sugarcane production.
The sugarcane that is produced in the country lacks in terms of quality as well. Sugarcane from Brazil yields twice as much sugar when compared to the crops cultivated in our country. The dying sugar industry is a testament to the lack of efficiency and resources in this sector.
The government must allocate resources to improve the quality of sugarcane produced. Subsidies should be given to sugarcane farmers so that cultivation becomes viable once more. The government should allocate funds for research and development of the industrial processes in sugar production to improve efficiency and financial viability.
The global market share for sugar is worth billions of dollars. Countries like India, Brazil and Thailand earn huge amounts of foreign revenue due to their efficiency in this lucrative sector. Bangladesh should strive to become a globally competitive producer of sugar as the industry is projected to grow in the coming years.