The UK Beet Sugar Industry reached a landmark occasion this year; it has been processing sugar beet for 100 years.
Cantley Sugar Factory was built and processed the first sugar beet crop in 1912. Today, it remains one of four beet processing factories, processing 7.5 million tonnes of beet from around 4,000 growers.
This significant milestone within the industry s history was celebrated with a commemorative event hosted at the Cantley Sugar Factory on Thursday 5 July 2012.
Gino De Jaegher, Managing Director, British Sugar, said: The production of homegrown sugar plays a vital role within our local rural and agricultural economy, which was demonstrated today with so many representatives coming together from across the industry. We are all incredibly proud of this great British success story. The first harvest and factory campaign began a remarkable partnership between agriculture and the industry, with people being very much at the heart of our industry. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the NFU and growers to ensure our ongoing success as an advanced and sustainable manufacturer .
British Sugar and the NFU support the development of young people with initiatives such as the Sugar Industry Programme recognising young growers are the future of British agriculture, whilst British Sugar continues to invest in developing a multi-skilled workforce and recruiting and training graduates and apprentices to provide a future pipeline of managers.
William Martin, Chairman, NFU Sugar Board, said: 100 Years of the UK Beet Sugar Industry is a fantastic achievement and a great example of sustainable intensification in practice. The sugar beet crop has been a way of life for generations of farmers and over the years productivity has increased well beyond expectations and beyond progress of any other arable crop. By continuing to focus on research and driving innovation in the way in which we can improve our sugar beet growing, we can look forward to commemorating the next 100 years .
Sugar beet yields have been rising faster than those of any other UK arable crop 60% since 1980*.
The UK industry has made significant investments into process efficiencies, research and development with the industry contributing around 1 billion to the economy with the homegrown sugar supply chain supporting around 13,000 jobs.
Learn more about the history of Cantley Sugar Factory on the British Sugar website here
Find out about modern day Cantley on the British Sugar website here