Bangladesh Sugarcane Research Institute (BSRI) is one of the oldest Agricultural research institutes of Bangladesh. The BSRI is conducting research on sugarcane – the raw material sugar, gur and cane juice. Sugarcane is the only dependable cash crop in the low rainfall belt of the north-west and south-west parts of Bangladesh.
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO):
“Every individual needs to consume 13Kg of sugar or 17Kg of gur per annum”.
In Bangladesh the quantity is less than 3Kg per person. With the projected population of more than 153.33 million in the year 2020, the requirement of sugar will be 9.2 hundred thousand metric ton even if we consider the intake of 6Kg per person per year. At present, 7.3 million ton sugarcane is produced from 0.18 million hectares of land per year. The yield of sugarcane is 40.52 ton/hectare (46 ton/ha in sugar mill areas and 36 ton/ha in gur areas). To meet the demand of sugar and gur, 11.1 million tons of sugarcane needs to be produced per year. As such the yield of sugarcane must be increased from its present level to at least 65 tons per hectare.
BSRI is proud to serve the nation attaining self reliance in the sugar and gur sector with its limited resources and manpower. Two basic functions are performed by this institute:
- Development of sugarcane variety as well as improved production technology and
- Dissemination of varieties and technologies to the farming community.
Research wings consist of eight research divisions; one quarantine station and two regional stations, whereas Technology Transfer (TT) wing consists of two major divisions, six substations and three sections.
Operations of the BSRI:
The Director General of the Institute is overall responsible for administration, finance and execution of the programmes related to research, manpower development, planning, audit and accounts, transfer of technology and other extension education activities.
The Director General is assisted by two Directors:
- Director (Research) is responsible for research programme planning, monitoring, evaluation and co-ordination of research activities as performed by the research divisions, regional and sub-stations. He is assisted by a Research Coordinator and Heads of Research Divisions.
- Director (Transfer of Technology) is responsible for the transfer of technologies to different clients through organizing training, workshop, seminar, publication of reports, journal, booklet, leaflet, production manuals etc.
Research Stations of BSRI in the Country:
The head-quarter of BSRI is located at Ishurdi upazila under Pabna district, which is about 250 km North-West of the capital city Dhaka. The institute is well connected by road and rail. The main station is on 95.14 hectares of land of which 24.29 hectares (60 acres) are occupied with buildings, roads, irrigation channels etc.
There are two Regional Sugarcane Research Stations (RSRS) located at Madargonj, Thakurgaon and Joydevpur, Gazipur and one Quarantine Station at Joydevpur, Gazipur. The institute has also six sub-stations located at Joypurhat, Rajshahi, Jamalpur, Chuadanga, Rahamatpur (Barishal) and Chunarughat (Hobiganj) (proposed).
RSRS, Thakurgaon was established at the Patuadangi farm of Thakurgaon Sugar mills during 1982. It is located at a distance of 10 km from Thakurgaon district headquarters. A total of 55 persons including 11 scientists, 2 officers and 42 support staff are working at this station. Apart from laboratories, it has a mini-library, weather recording facilities and other support services. This station has trained more than 5000 farmers and extension workers of sugar mills and NGOs. It also conducted more than 500 demonstrations on different improved varieties and technologies involving more than 800 sugarcane farmers since 1987.
RSRS, Gazipur is located at the South-West corner of the BARI farm at Joydebpur, Gazipur. The construction of the new research building has been completed in December, 2003. The Quarantine station located within the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) campus, Gazipur has been working since 1980 to provide quarantine follow-up of imported varieties.
Sub-station Chuadanga located 3 km West of Chuadanga railway station. This station has solved many local problems related to sugarcane cultivation and has trained 622 sugarcane farmers on improved sugarcane production technologies. Recently two acres of land have been acquired from Akandabaria farm of the Carew and Co. sugar mills for the construction of this sub-station. Sub-station Rajshahi, located at North-West corner of the City, conducts research on local problems. This station also conducted 300 demonstrations and on-farm adaptive trials on different improved technologies involving about 500 sugarcane farmers since 1981.
Sub-station Joypurhat is located near the Joypurhat Sugar Mills Ltd. Substation Jamalpur and Rahamatpur are located within the campuses of the Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS) Jamalpur and RARS Barishal, of BARI.
Contribution of Sugarcane Research to National Economy:
- Findings of Agricultural Economics Research revealed that GDP contribution of sugarcane to the national economy was 0.74%. On an average, annual contribution of sugarcane to GDP ranges in Tk. 12-15 billion (1200-1500 crore).
- In the financial year 1999-2000, 69.09 hundred thousand MT of sugarcane was produced in the country and added value to national GDP came to Tk. 15.22 billion (1521.69 crore). Among them GDP earnings of Tk. 8.52 billion (852.00 crore, 0.41%) came from Gur, Tk. 3.69 billion (369.00 crore, 0.18%) came from sugar, Tk. 0.93 billion (92.60 crore, 0.05%) came from seed, Tk. 0.83 billion (82.90 crore, 0.04%) came from cattle feed and fuel, Tk. 0.69 billion (68.94 crore, 0.02%) came from by-product and Tk. 0.56 billion (56.25 crore, 0.02%) came from chewing & juice.
Sugarcane research has proved its importance and contribution to the national economy. Based on World Bank ARMP project research findings, the contribution of sugarcane research and extension investment was estimated as 16% internal rate of return (IRR), which is higher than that of the country’s prime cash crop of jute. Findings of World Bank studies reported that with the development of high sugar varieties, the country was able to save foreign exchange of Tk. 4.0 billion (400 crore) during 1972-1997 which is the notable benefit of sugarcane research in Bangladesh.
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