Sugar beet negotiation legislation is priority for 2024

29 December 2023

Michael Sly

Michael Sly

NFU Sugar Board chair

An image of Michael Sly stood in a field of unharvested sugar beet crop

In his New Year message, NFU Sugar Board chair Michael Sly reflects on the recent sugar beet contract negotiations with British Sugar and thanks growers for their continued support.

Since writing my new year message in British Farmer and Grower magazine, NFU Sugar has finally reached a negotiated agreement with British Sugar for the 2024 sugar beet contract.

I want to personally thank all the sugar beet growers we represent for their support and incredible unity shown over the past few months.

We were overwhelmed by the response to our pledge campaign (with over 70% of the national tonnage signing this) and by the more than 500 letters sent to MPs on the issue of sugar negotiations in recent weeks.

“We will continue to insist on a contract price that gives growers a fair share of the returns made in the marketplace.”

NFU Sugar Board chair Michael Sly

We could not have achieved the deal we have without this level of unity and support.

We remain outraged that British Sugar saw fit to issue a unilateral offer to growers and in 2024 we will be pressing for amendments to the relevant legislation, in order to avoid another such crisis in the UK sugar beet sector.

We will continue to insist on a contract price that gives growers a fair share of the returns made in the marketplace.

Also in 2024, we will aim to support growers on their journey towards net zero by seeking to unlock environmental marketplace opportunities using private finance, and so help ensure on-farm environmental services are fairly rewarded.

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