Memorandum submitted by Mr N Hustler (O62)
Firstly I am a sugar beet grower with a relatively
small production contract of 447 tonnes.
Secondly I am employed during the winter months
by a haulage contractor to deliver sugar beet to British Sugar's
The Agricultural Economy of large areas of Eastern
England is heavily reliant on the production of Sugar Beet. Farm
incomes, severely reduced in recent years are now heavily reliant
on the production of this crop. The Sugar Industry supports many
rural jobs both within the Agricultural and Road Haulage sectors.
It is envisaged that within the enlarged EU,
Sugar consumption is set to rise over the next few years, making
any substantial reduction in the EU production base extremely
The only fair option for modernisation of the
sugar regime is Option 1 (detailed below).
The UK currently produces only half its national
consumption of sugar, the remainder is already imported by way
of the sugar cane crop from developing countries. In this respect
the UK could be held up as a model for other EU countries to follow.
With the current world security situation, a domestic
production of only 50% of consumption would in my view be the
minimum safe quantity, in order to guarantee a stable sugar supply.
The most important objective of the sugar review
must be to achieve sustainable and stable industries both within
the EU and also in the developing nations. A price driven, uncontrolled
world sugar market would be highly damaging to developing countries
since it would negate the value of their access to the UK market.
Indeed both the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and the
Least Developed Countries have expressed opposition to these means
of reform to the sugar market. Price reductions on a large scale
would simply lead to the destruction of the industry both within
Europe and abroad, since it does not offer a reliable basis for
investment in the future.
An unfair burden should not be placed on the EU Sugar
sector to provide a disproportionate share of the EU`s overseas
In the UK, the average cost per person, of purchasing
sugar, in all products, is about 6 pence per day.
The average "Sugar Mile" (ie distance from
factory to consumer) for UK domestic production is about 130 miles,
compared to between 4,000-12,000 miles for most imported sources.
The sugar industry currently supports over 20,000
jobs throughout the UK economy, many of which are in rural areas.
Apparently three main options are being considered
by way of reform to the sugar regime:
Option 1. Maintain a stable sugar market
but with some reductions in prices, and national quotas in some
Option 2. Severe price reductions with the
possible eventual abolition of quotas.
Option 3. Global liberalisation of trade
in sugar, with removal of quotas and exposure to world prices.
It is worth pointing out that with the current
world security situation, a reliable source of home grown sugar,
which is grown from fully traceable sources, to the highest proven
standards of environmental consideration, is a very great asset
It is for these reasons that I consider the
only fair option for modernisation of the sugar regime is Option
1. All of the alternatives will lead to an insecure supply of
sugar to the domestic market at wildly fluctuating prices, which
is not in anybody's interest. Since the current average cost per
person of purchasing sugar, in all products, in the UK is currently
about six pence per day, is it really worth putting all this at
1 April 2004