NFU Sugar at WABCG 2022

First published: 09 December 2022

An image of WABCG delegates visiting Holkham Estate

NFU Sugar commercial and market insight manager Arthur Marshall explains the beet clamp to WABCG delegates

On 21 November, NFU Sugar attended the Annual Conference of the WABCG (World Association of Beet and Cane Growers) in Canary Wharf, London. NFU Sugar adviser Sam Williamson reflects on the day.

The WABCG has over 30 member associations and unites over 30 million sugar beet and sugar cane growers across all 5 continents.

Its Annual Conference provides an invaluable opportunity to discuss shared opportunities and challenges across the sugar sector and explore mutual strategies and ambitions for the future.

Challenges around the world

2022 was the first year that the WABCG had met in-person since the beginning of the pandemic.

However, the “Around the World” session incorporating information flashes from each of the represented countries, highlighted that each member association remains very much on the same page – facing the same overarching challenges in relation to input prices, climate change, and reducing emissions.

Market update

The market update session forecasted an increase in world sugar production in 22/23 of 9.48mt (million tonnes) to reach 182.14mt (the largest production on record). The vast majority of this increase was attributed to South America, and mostly to Brazil.

With consumption projected to rise by just 1.63mt, a 6.23mt surplus is projected in 22/23, the first sugar surplus since 19/20.

This is likely to limit further growth in the sugar price, although this will remain dependent upon the export intentions of large producers such as India and how much of their product ends up on the global commodity market.

Innovation takes centre stage

The themed session of the conference focused on technology and its role in supporting the sector in fulfilling its environmental ambitions.

Representatives from France, Morocco, Australia and Germany explored the latest technical innovations being implemented at both a farm and supply chain level to facilitate and encourage environmentally friendly sugar beet and sugar cane production.

NFU Sugar introduces delegates to the British beet harvest  

The previous day, NFU Sugar had organised for delegates to visit Holkham Estate for an introduction to the business, an insight into its heritage, and to get up close and personal with the British sugar beet harvest.

Holkham Farming Company Director James Beamish was our esteemed host, covering the development of agriculture on the Estate from the 1700s and Coke of Holkham, through to its progressive, sustainability-led approach today.

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