BSS, Rangpur : Agriculture Secretary Dr SM Nazmul Islam at a farmers’ field day has said cultivation of tropical sugar beet could become an effective substitute to sugarcane farming in increasing sugar production. “The weather condition of Bangladesh is suitable for sugar beet farming, its sweetness and yield rate are much higher than sugarcane and the crop can be harvested in only five moths than a year in case of sugarcane,” he said. Under the present perspective, the Agriculture Secretary put emphasis on enhancing rice cultivation in the country’s southern region while high-priced crops in the northern region where the sugar beet framing might be one of the options. He was addressing the farmers’ field day on ‘Prospect of Tropical Sugar Beet Cultivation in Bangladesh’ organised by Bangladesh Sugarcane Research Institute (BSRI) at Thakurgaon Sugar Mills premises as the chief guest on Thursday. Officials, experts and scientists of BSRI, Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC), Agriculture Information Service, Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation, Barind Multipurpose Development Authority and over 100 sugarcane growers participated. Director of BSFIC Azizur Rahman and Rangpur Regional Additional Director of the DAE Krishibid Vhaskor Chakroborty addressed the occasion as the special guests with Director General of BSRI based at Iswardi Dr Hyman Kabir in the chair. Managing Director of Thakurgaon Sugar Mills Limited (TSML) and Agriculture Engineer Md Azizur Rahman, Project Director of the Development of Sugar beet Cultivation Technologies in Bangladesh’ Dr Khalilur Rahman and General Secretary of Sugarcane Growers’ Association of TSML Ruhul Amin also addressed. The BSRI arranged the field day under its pilot project of ‘Development of Sugar beet Cultivation Technologies in Bangladesh’ being implemented in 16 spots to increase sugar production through expanded cultivation of sugar beet. The experts said sugar beet farming on commercial basis in different parts of the country has brighter prospect and said its expended cultivation could contribute in meeting the country’s sugar deficit. They said sugar beet is a plant, tuber of which contains high concentration of sucrose and it is being cultivated commercially in many countries for sugar production and it ranks second to sugarcane for global sugar production. Sugar beet takes 5-6 months for maturity against 12-14 months for sugarcane, they said adding that sugar recovery rate from sugar beet is 10-12 percent against 8-10 percent for sugarcane. Currently, there are over 6,000 hectares of sugarcane farming land under the 14 sugar-mills and the nation can produce over 4.8 lakh tonnes of sugar beet annually if the lands are brought under its cultivation.