Tereos sets minimum price for sugar beet growers

By Niamh Michail contact

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock / Paul Grecaud
© iStock / Paul Grecaud

Related tags: Sugar beet

French sugar giant Tereos has announced a guaranteed minimum price of €25 per ton for its beet growers in 2017 and 2018 in preparation for the end of the EU sugar quotas next year.

The EU sugar quotas cap the amount of sugar beet producers can grow and Europe, which is currently a net importer of sugar, is set to become a net exporter of the commodity when they end.

Tereos said the guaranteed price will apply to all sugar beet growers under contract and includes the value assigned to the pulp. It will also increase the price for sugar beets harvested to 20 January by €3 per ton.

The company has set a strategic goal of upping its production after 2017 from 15m to 18m tones tons of sugar beets over an extended harvest period of 130 days.

Most of this increased production will be in France, and Tereos has been working to improve its distribution network in countries that have experienced sugar shortfalls in the past.

In the UK it acquired Napier Brown, bringing its market share to 25% while in Spain it has partnered with Acor Sugar Beet Cooperative and is now the second largest operator. It also set up a subsidiary Tereos Commodities to boost international export capacities in African and Middle Eastern markets.

But while the French company is looking forward to what it dubs ”the post-2017 era”, r​esearchers have warned that the lifting of the quotas could be disastrous for public health as it will flood the market with cheap sugar and tempt manufacturers to reformulate sugar into their products.

According to the authors of an analysis published​ in the British Medical Journal: “The structuring and sequencing of the reforms (…) were designed to benefit industry rather than public health. There has been no pause to consider the broader health implications of sugar reform, even though from the outset the European Commission forecast that sugar consumption would increase as a result.”

Other researchers have raised concerns​ about the effect it will have on the livelihoods of sugar cane growers and producers in developing countries, no longer able to compete with cheap European sugar.

The sugar cane industry provides up to 40% of all exports from Guyana and 25% from Belize and Fiji. 

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