Memorandum submitted by Sir Gwilym Williams
& Co (O6)
We feel compelled to write to you concerning
the changes to the sugar regime that will impact our farming business
1. We farm approx 400 hectares, most of
which belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall, we currently employ three
full-time and at harvest time we have an additional five employees.
2. During the last few years we have had
to make very significant changes to both staff numbers and working
practices in order to maintain some level of profitability in
the business whilst complying with ever more exacting legislation
and assurance schemes.
3. Sugar beet presently occupies 22% of
the farm and produces 35% of the gross output. It has been the
backbone of the business.
4. Any reduction in the crops on-farm profitability
will mean that we will switch to growing more combinable crops
that require less labour. Therefore redundancies are inevitable.
5. The farm has recently become a part of
the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in which the Sugar Beet crop
plays an important ecological role by encouraging undisturbed
over-winter stubbles. These will be lost.
6. We can adapt to change if we have to,
but to open the door to imports from countries that for many reasons
are able to produce cheaper sugar of suspect purity and quality
then our industry will be finished.
19 March 2004