Farming's role in sugar reduction

Michael Sly NFU Sugar Chairman_47534

The Food Research Collaboration, an initiative of the Centre for Food Policy, recently published 'Sugar reduction in post-Brexit UK: A supply-side policy agenda'.

Commenting on the report, NFU Sugar board chairman Michael Sly said:

“It is overly simplistic to target one sector of agricultural production as the solution to an issue as complex as public health. In particular, we do not believe that trade and agricultural policies are the most effective ways to achieve public health outcomes.

“This is an extensive report but it is light on detail and misrepresents some aspects of the current environment. The report’s recommendations demonstrate only a partial grasp of the current system of agricultural support and fail to recognise that there is no direct financial incentive for farmers in the UK to grow sugar beet. The suggestion that farmers can simply switch the crops they grow overlooks the complexities of agricultural production and also ignores the valuable role sugar beet plays as a break crop in farmers’ rotations.

“The report’s recommendations to scale back sugar beet production could in practice have the unintended consequence of seeing the UK import more sugar from countries whose production standards are lower than the high standards in the UK’s home-grown sugar industry. It is vital that future farming and trade policy ensures the UK can continue to produce high quality home grown sugar which contributes to a healthy, balanced diet.”

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