Memorandum submitted by R J & A E
Our preferred option is number 1, referred to
as the Stable Market
1. We are growers of sugar beet in Lincolnshire
and Yorkshire supplying the York and Wissington factories. Sugar
Beet is an important crop to us, it is profitable, and it provides
both employment and bio-diversity of plants and animals. As a
spring crop it is particularly helpful in providing habitat for
certain farmland birds particularly ground nesting species such
as the skylark.
2. We have considered the options put forward
in the Defra consultation and our preferred option is number 1
referred to as the stable market. This option will allow efficient
growers to be profitable and give stability to the market allowing
re-investment decisions to be made with confidence. The other
two options would have significant consequences if the income
from the sugar beet crop does not cover the costs of production.
There would be adverse consequences, loss of income and redundancies,
in the farm input chain and in the post farm gate chain including
the sugar refining sector (as operated by British Sugar). Crop
rotations would change with possible adverse environmental effects
resulting from increased winter crops being sown.
3. I do question whether freeing up the
sugar market will benefit the poorest countries in the world.
Taking the example of coffee, it is a salutary lesson for free
market advocates that consumers in the western world paying the
highest prices ever for coffee and farmers in the developing world
receiving their lowest price in real terms. The so-called free
market is controlled by a few multi-national traders; this could
so easily be repeated with sugar if that option was chosen.
18 March 2004