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Sweetening food security in Bangladesh: present situation and future strategy

Sugar and jaggery (locally called 'gur') are the main important sources of sweetener (source of carbohydrate) in Bangladesh. Sugar is indispensable for health and if it is not taken directly, it must be taken from other sources of carbohydrates in the food. During 1990-91 to 2006-07 availability of sugar and gur in Bangladesh was 0.99 million tons on an average both from internal production and importation. During the same period mean domestic production of sugar and gur were 0.18 million tons and 0.42 million tons respectively which could meet 33% of the internal demand of sugar and gur. Deficit of demand was 0.75 million tons about 39% of the internal demand and the rest 28% of the demand was meet by importation. Per capita availability of sugar and gur were 5.8 kg and 3.0 kg as against demand of 10 kg sugar and 3 kg gur respectively during the aforementioned period. Sugarcane cultivation area, sugarcane production and sugar production showed negative trend which were -1.06, -1.37 and -4.43% respectively whereas yield of sugarcane, gur production and importation of sugar showed positive trend which were 0.62, 0.05 and 19.33% respectively. The sugar industry of Bangladesh made losses of Tk. 461.48 million per year on an average during aforementioned period. Date palm and Palmyra palm plantation in homestead, embankment, ponds, road sides, marginal lands and ail (demarcation mark) that remain fallow would be an alternative source of sugar and gur to meet up the increasing demand of sugar and gur in Bangladesh

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