The government has fixed a target to produce some 140,000 tonnes of sugar in 14 sugar mills across the country by crushing some 1.772 million tonnes (17,72,160 tonnes) of sugarcane during the 2005-06 fiscal.
Deputy Minister for Land Ruhul Kuddus Talukder Dulu inaugurated the Natore Sugar Mill's 21st sugarcane crushing season Tuesday with the target to produce some 12,320 tonnes sugar by crushing 1,60,000 tonnes of sugarcane during the period from the respective mill.
Besides, Rajshahi sugar mill has targeted to produce some 12,784 tonnes of sugar by crushing some 170,000 tonnes of sugarcane during the fiscal.
The 2005-06 sugarcane-crushing season has started in the country through the crushing programme in Natore and Rajshahi sugar mills under the Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC), said a press release.
Sugarcane crushing will start in the remaining sugar mills gradually within this month and December next.
During the last crushing season, the sugar output under the state-run mills were set to fall short of target by over 33 per cent. The production of the sugar mills was nearly 120,000 tonnes against the target of 180,000 tonnes.
For the 2004-05 crushing season, BSFIC has targeted to crush some 2.6 million tonnes of sugarcane while sugar mills were able to crush only 2.36 million tonnes due to poor supply of sugarcane during that period.
The state-owned sugar mills crushed nearly 3.5 million tonnes of sugarcane in the 1994-95 season while the volume plummeted to 1.3 million tonnes in 1999-2000 and 2.1 million tonnes in 1997-98 season.
As a result, the country has gradually become increasingly dependent on imported sugar due to slide in sugar output. The private sector imported 600,000 tonnes of sugar during the 2002-03 fiscal while it was only 200,000 to 300,000 tonnes only a couple of years back.