Government-run Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation or BSFIC owes sugarcane growers Tk 2.5 billion in unpaid bills.
Leaders of the Bangladesh Chinikal Aakhchashi Federation, an association of sugarcane growers, fear that the unpaid bills may hit sugarcane supplies in the coming season.
They expressed their worries in a meeting with Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun on Wednesday, according to a statement of the ministry.
Several millions farmers supply sugarcane to the BSFIC that runs 15 sugar mills, but are not getting the prices, which discouraged them to cultivate the sweetener, the meeting was told.
The leaders warned that it would be very difficult to supply the sugarcane in the next crushing season after the end of this year unless they are paid up.
The industries minister assured them of taking effective measures to pay the dues in consultation with the finance ministry.In fiscal 2017-2018 alone, the BSFIC faced losses worth about Tk 6.5 billion. As a result, the state-run sugar mills failed to pay the price of sugarcane bought from the farmers.
In the meeting, the federation leaders demanded an increase in the import duty on sugar to protect the domestic sugar industry.
In response to the demand, the minister said the government will provide required policy support to protect the interest of the sugar industry as an agro-based industry.