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Bangladesh - February 28, 2024

Trouble with sugar

Dr Enayet Karim : Sugar is a sweet little white grain. The English name of sugar is ‘Sugar’. But in Bengali, the word Chini is used in more than one sense. As a noun ‘sugar’ means ‘sugar’; Again, as a verb ‘sugar’ means to know someone. Children students have to face difficulties with the word sugar. A student writing the English of the sentence ‘I know him’ wrote, ‘I sugar him!’
The price of this sugar is increasing. The price of the product fell slightly on the news that import duty on sugar will be reduced ahead of the holy month of Ramadan. But the tariff rate did not come down as expected by traders. Under the new tariff regime, the duty on imported sugar has come down to 68 paisa per kg. The price of the product has not decreased, but on the contrary, it has started to increase.
In the space of two-three days, the price of sugar has increased from Tk 150 to Tk 200 per bag in the wholesale market. The supply of packaged sugar in the market is quite regulated. Therefore, the buyers have to buy one kg packet of sugar for more than Tk 150 at retail.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industry Corporation (BSFIC) recently announced an increase in the price of packaged red sugar from government mills by Tk 20 to Tk 160 per kg. At a time when the government is trying to control the sugar market by reducing duty, the government agency has set the price of sugar at the highest in history. BSFIC withdrew the decision to increase the price of sugar on the instructions of the Ministry of Industry after a few hours after there was widespread criticism and reaction.
To protect the local sugar industry, the government has imposed high tariffs on sugar imported from abroad. However, BSFIC’s domestic production of red sugar is only 1 percent of the total demand. The country imports 20-22 lakh tonnes of sugar annually. And red sugar is produced only like 30 thousand tons; That is, the sugar market is almost entirely dependent on imported white sugar.
Regarding the price increase, many traders say that the demand for sugar increases before fasting. The price is a little higher. High prices are seen in the case of other daily commodities as well. Even the government’s efforts to control the prices before fasting are not affecting the market in that way.
There is no rational reason or explanation why the price of sugar is increasing. Traders say that the price of sugar is continuously increasing in the world market. But the price of sugar in our market is not consistent with this world market. Currently, the price of sugar per kg is Tk 114 in terms of dollars. But it is being sold in the market for Tk 140 to Tk 150. This means that the price of sugar is increasing to inflate the profit of importers!
Various products are manipulated in our country. Same with sugar. According to importers, banks are not agreeing to do LC due to dollar crisis. A minimum LC of $27 to $30 million should be opened per ship. But Bangladesh Bank said LC can’t be opened for more than $3 million. In that case they have to open 9 LCs consecutively. Dollar has to be bought at the rate of Tk 110-120. After so much commotion, sugar is imported by paying duty and now it is not allowed anymore. As a result, the import of sugar has decreased.
The price is increasing. However, this argument can’t be accepted by traders. Sugar prices in Bangladesh are higher than neighboring South Asian countries including Pakistan and Sri Lanka, which are experiencing inflation of more than 35 percent. According to the Global Product Price website, Bangladesh ranks 49th out of 82 countries on the Sugar Price Index; In other words, the price of sugar in 33 countries of the world is lower than that of Bangladesh. In terms of US dollars, the price of sugar per kg is $1.35 in Bangladesh, $1.20 in Sri Lanka, $0.66 in India, $0.61 in Thailand and $0.63 in Pakistan. The highest average price on the list is $3.18 in Hong Kong and the lowest is $0.37 in Nigeria.
The price of sugar is not coming down now-we need to fix our daily budgets with that in mind. Gradually forget ‘sugar’ and learn to say ‘no sugar’. There is no point in discussing sugar in depth; Rather, some light discussion can reduce the sugar or sugar in the body. There is a famous story about the meaning of the word sugar.
Maurice Sahib was Professor of English and French at Santiniketan. When he was alone, he often hummed and sang. One day he said to his then student Pramathanath Bishi: Gurudev has written a song about sugar, have you heard it? The song is very sweet.
Bishi: Which song?
Maurice: I know you, you foreigner…
Bishi: That sugar song will be sweet. But where did you get this explanation?
Maurice: Why, Gurudev himself told me!
Not only is there a problem with the meaning of the word sugar, but there is also a problem with the consumption of sugar. There are not many people who do not like various sweets made of sugar; But not everyone can eat sweets equally all the time. Many people have a tendency to increase the amount of ‘sugar’ or sugar in their blood. Then sugar or sweets are considered poison or haram for him. People who suffer from blood sugar problems are known as diabetics. In general, this ‘sugar problem’ in the blood is more common in older people. Even if their mind wants it, their body can’t accept sugar. But those who can eat kilos of sugar like rice, those poor people don’t have even a pinch of sugar on their foreheads. What a cruel irony of fate! Sugar always tastes sweet. Sugar tastes sweet even if you force it. Almost everyone wants to eat sugar. And if there is a chance to get magna or ‘free’ then it is not a matter.
A patient went to the drug store and said: If you give medicine, you will give sugar too. Shopkeeper: Don’t sell sugar.
Patient: Needless to say, the medicine says ‘sugar free’!
After rice, oil, onion, manipulation of sugar has made people angry. Because Bengali middle-class life does not go without sugar. Sugar is an essential ingredient in children’s food. Sugar in tea and coffee. Sugar in semai-suji-halua. All the more exotic items are made with sugar. Both music without music and food without sugar are undesirable to Bengalis.
There has been a lot of controversy over this important food ingredient, sugar. Due to the price, stay away from sweet foods like semai, semolina, haluwa, tea and coffee have also become ‘sugar free’ – food for diabetics. Adding as little sugar as possible to the tea. Quarrels about the amount of sugar in tea are going on at home, even in the shop there is trouble with the tea sellers. How to make tea with less sugar, without parle, is now going on in homes and shops. Those who do not have diabetes have fallen into the great hole. For healthy sweet-loving people, the patient’s food and sugar can be tolerated?
Whether it is because of not being able to drink tea with milk and sugar properly, the leaders and workers of BNP have also lost their way. Their movement-struggle has started for now. In fact, the effect of the abnormal increase in the price of sugar is everywhere. Sweets are now the favorite food of the upper class (although they can’t eat them for fear of diabetes)! Even in the news of joy and happiness, sweets are no longer seen, sweet faces are not made. Those who have lots of money are now only enjoying the taste of sweets. With the increase in the price of sugar, sweet words are also disappearing. Everyone is talking like Tita Tita. The evidence is found in the words of the leaders of the government and opposition parties. Kurukshetra was already at home, now it has started outside too.
The government is increasingly becoming a target of abuse for failing to control the rise in sugar prices. Who knows where this sugar ultimately leads to the government, above all the country, how much more trouble!

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