Agriculture Minister Dr Md Abdur Razzaque, MP, said that modern technology has to be used in both production and threshing of sugarcane in the sugar mills of the country. Then the production and productivity will increase in both sectors and sugarcane farming will be profitable.
The minister also said, at the same time, companion crops along with sugarcane should be cultivated to make sugarcane farming more profitable. Sugarcane cultivation will be profitable if the companion crop is cultivated with improved varieties invented by BSRI. Farmers will be motivated to cultivate sugarcane.
The minister made the remarks while virtually speaking at the inaugural function of a training course on 'Modern Technology in Sugarcrop Cultivation' organized by Bangladesh Sugarcrop Research Institute (BSRI) at the conference room of Dhanbari Upazila in Tangail on Friday.
The minister said the country's sugar mills are very old. Sugar production technology is also not modern. On the other hand, the productivity of sugarcane in the field is low. The cost of sugar production is much higher. At present, it is necessary to check whether the cost of producing 1 kg of sugar can be reduced.
If necessary, ‘1 Model Sugar Mill of Modern Technology’ can be set up experimentally along with this, cultivation of improved varieties of sugarcane in the field. Even then, if the cost of sugar production is not reduced and sugarcane cultivation is not profitable; then the sugar mill in the country needs to be closed down, Razzaque added.
BSRI Director Samjit Kumar Pal, Jamalpur Sub-Center Chief Scientific Officer Khandaker Mohiul Alam, Tangail Agriculture Extension Deputy Director Ahsanul Basar, Upazila Parishad Vice Chairman and others spoke during the programme under the chairmanship of BSRI Director General Dr Amjad Hossain.
According to the BSRI, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recommends 13 kg of sugar/molasses consumption per person every year. As such, the country needs about 20 lakh tonnes of sugar/molasses every year. At present about 6 lakh tonnes (0.68 lakh tonnes of sugar and 5.32 lakh tonnes of molasses) are produced. The amount of deficit is 1.4 million tonnes per year.
More research and expansion of invented technology is needed to fill the gap. BSRI is working towards this. It has already developed 48 varieties of sugarcane. Of these, 3 are suitable for chewing and drinking juice, 9 are flood tolerant, 10 are waterlogging tolerant, 7 are drought tolerant and 6 are salinity tolerant.
Along with sugarcane, the company has also developed technology to cultivate potato, onion, garlic, cauliflower, cabbage, pulses, oil, spices etc.
In addition, the Director General of BSRI Dr Amjad said that in places where other crops are less cultivated, importance is being given to the development and expansion of cultivable varieties and technologies. Emphasis is being given to sugarcane cultivation in flood prone, flood prone, waterlogged, Char, Haor, saline and hilly areas.
There is growing interest among the farmers as it is profitable to cultivate varieties of sugarcane suitable for chewing and drinking juice.