Cereals 2013: NFU rejects beet price

The NFU has rejected British Sugar's offer for the 2014 beet price, which was announced at the Cereals event on 12 June, insisting that it is not enough.


Speaking to sugar growers at the NFU stand at Cereals, British Sugar agriculture director Colm McKay said the company had offered a contract price of £30.67 per tonne, which the NFU had rejected.

Sugarbeet harvesting_183_275The British Sugar price offer was £4.16 more than that of June 2012, but the NFU believes it is not enough, considering the challenges growers have faced over the past few years.

"We have seen a succession of challenging years for sugar growers," said board chairman William Martin. He added that extreme conditions in recent campaigns including severe frost and wet weather, followed by problems with emergence this spring have forced many growers to reassess the level of risk that comes with the crop.

"Many of us would like to continue growing sugar beet, but this can only be if it makes sense for us to do so in the long term," he added.

Mr Martin acknowledged that British Sugar has spent more time taking to farmers.

"There are clear indicators that they have listened and understood," he added.

Proposals outlined by British Sugar in their offer to growers also included confirmation of plans to invest an extra £25m into its factories, above and beyong an original planned spend of £25m, following problems with reliability last year.

British Sugar's offer would also have set the industrial (ICE) price at the contract (CTE) amount of £30.67.

Mr McKay said that the price increase, together with the investment in factories, would equate to a £60m response to grower concerns. But Mr Martin insisted that the price offer failed to take into account a true assessment of the risks involved.

“The NFU recognises that the prices announced this morning represent a move from British Sugar, but our view based on what people have been telling us so far is that it is not enough of a move," he added.


Last edited on: 14:06:2013

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