Even after procuring excessive sugarcane against the target, Rajshahi Sugar Mills has failed to achieve its production target during the current crushing season. As a result, RSM is going to incur a huge amount of loss this year (2017-2018) as well. Authorities of RSM, however, claimed due to decrease in percentage of extraction of juice from the sugarcane, the mills failed to achieve its target this season.
According to sources of RSM, the mills had set a target of procuring 73,000 tonnes of sugarcane and the production target of sugar by crushing that sugarcane was fixed at 5,500 tonnes during the current crushing season. But RSM surpassed its sugarcane procuring target collecting 93,095 tonnes of sugarcane, that is, it procured an extra 20,096 tonnes of sugarcane than the fixed target and even after that failed to reach its sugar production target. The production of sugar by crushing that sugarcane was only 5,448 tonnes. The percentage of extraction of sugar from the sugarcane was only 5.85 per cent as against 7.5 per cent of extraction target.
It is learnt, from November 17 last year, RSM started crushing of sugarcane. RSM used to purchase sugarcane from farmers at Tk 125 per maund and after purchasing 20,000 metric tonnes of excessive sugarcane than the target fixed, the mills authorities declared closure of sugarcane procurement on January 23.
While commenting on failure in production target of sugar even after procuring and crushing of excessive sugarcane, Deb Dulal Dhali, Deputy Director of Agriculture Extension department in Rajshahi informed, inclement weather like excessive rainfall and a delayed harvesting of sugarcane from the field often cause loss in sugar extraction from the cane. Again, storing harvested sugarcane for a long time at the mills premises also causes fall in percentage of sugar extraction.
He further commented RSM was established in 1965. Most of its age old machineries have lost the efficiency of production resulting a fall in extraction of sugar from the sugarcane. As a result, the mills failed to achieve its production target even after procuring excessive sugarcane.
In Rajshahi district, sugarcane was produced in 8,610 hectares of land out of which sugarcane of 7,330 hectares of land have so far been harvested.
Ashfaqur Rahman, managing director of Rajshahi Sugar Mills, said due to inclement weather and age old machineries, the extraction of sugar from crushing sugarcane was decreased. He further informed, last year sugarcane was purchased at Tk 110 per maund and this year it was purchased as Tk 115 per maund and next year the sugarcane will be purchased at Tk 140 per maund direct from the farmers. Due to increase in sugarcane price, farmers were now interested to sell sugarcane to the mills but due to lack of supply of quality sugarcane, there was a fall in sugar production, he opined.
However, according to sources, due to excessive manpower, corruption and low selling price of sugar, the authorities of RSM was incurring loss year after year. The mills has incurred nearly Tk 3.50 million (350 crore) loss during last one decade.
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