Fake sugar is being sold in the country’s market by a group of dishonest traders. Not only private company products are being counterfeited, but this group is also producing an adulterated version of the sugar produced by the state-owned Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC) and selling it at a higher price by calling it sugarcane sugar.
Under the circumstances, BSFIC has requested the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) and Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) to take strict action against these traders immediately.
BSFIC sent a letter to DNCRP and BFSA on Sunday, in which it called for quick legal steps against those duplicating BSFIC’s packets and illegally selling packaged fake sugar under different names at a higher price.
In the letter, BSFIC Chairman Md Arifur Rahman Apu told DNCRP that BSFIC is the country’s only industrial company producing and marketing sugar directly from sugarcane. BSFIC fixed the maximum retail price of 1 kg packaged sugar at Tk 112 and that of bagged sugar at Tk 105 per kg.
Taking advantage of the growing demand of consumers considering the characteristics and qualities of sugarcane sugar, this group of unscrupulous and profit-loving traders and organisations are copying BSFIC’s packets and illegally selling adulterated sugar under their name.
He said that BSFIC has received complaints that these traders are removing the real retail price from the packets and selling the fake sugar at Tk 130-145.
This is tarnishing BSFIC’s reputation, forcing consumers to buy adulterated sugar at higher prices and making people suffer financially, while the middlemen are making money. Their activities are likely to increase ahead of the upcoming holy month of Ramadan, he added.
These unscrupulous traders and sale of adulterated sugar need to be stopped in line with the law to protect BSFIC and the government and to ensure the financial and health safety of the people, he said.
DNCRP Director General AHM Shafiquzzaman said their drives on different occasions have seized fake sugar. The directorate will look into BSFIC’s complaint and take necessary legal action so that fake and adulterated products are not on the market during Ramadan. Dishonest traders also try and sell essentials at a higher price as their demand grows during Ramadan. DNCRP will take vigilant steps to prevent that, he added.
According to Commerce Ministry data, the country’s annual demand for sugar is 18-20 lakh metric tonnes. Of this, 24,509 metric tonnes were produced in state-owned mills in FY2022-23 and the rest was imported.
BSFIC sells most of the sugarcane sugar produced in the country as a ration to various government agencies. It packages the rest of the sugar on its own and releases it in the market, which means other companies other than BSFIC do not have the opportunity to package sugarcane sugar and sell it.
Even the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) is selling imported sugar at affordable prices with subsidies among the people.
Meanwhile, unscrupulous traders are using colour in the imported white sugar and selling it as sugarcane sugar, which is brown, at an increased price in packets as BSFIC does.
Moreover, the Bangladesh Sugar Refiners Association has increased sugar prices several times in recent times.
At the beginning of February, the price of packaged sugar was increased by Tk 4 to Tk 112 per kg and the price of loose sugar was increased by Tk 5 to Tk 107 per kg.