UK farmers bitter over altered sugar reform
restructuring scheme saying it will benefit processors rather than
growers struggling to compete at the lower end of the supply chain.
Earlier this week, the European Commission announced it would introduce new incentives to encourage lagging processors to leave the sugar sector. Under the changes, which will be brought in by the end of October, aid for growers and contractors will be fixed at 10 per cent. Beet growers will be allowed to apply directly for a reduction of up to 10 per cent of factory quota. But Britain's National Farmer's Union (NFU) hit out at the plans, claiming that they were more advantageous to processors than growers. The organisation said in a statement that access to aid for growers is restricted if processors choose to submit ten per cent or more of quota - thereby overriding the grower's chance for compensation. NFU sugar board chairman John Hoyles said: "The grower initiative is meaningless with the proposed restrictions and is a continuation of the original reform package that was shaped around processor's interests and restricted growers' ability to exercise legitimate rights as partners in an industry. "It is also difficult to understand the application of a retrospective element that would, on the face of it, appear to completely disregard the situation in the UK where growers who were forced to stop growing in the last two years would receive no meaningful acknowledgement of the fact they had no real choice but to relinquish tonnage within the EU restructuring scheme." The NFU is due to meet with the Commission to discuss the restructuring proposals and air their concerns over the treatment of beet growers.