European sugar beet growers call for stability on the EU sugar market and call on the European Commission for action

Published: 04/20/2015, 10:06:05 AM

At their General Assembly on Friday 17 April 2015 in Brussels, European beet growers, together with their President Bernhard Conzen and Vice-Presidents Eric Lainé and Jørn Dalby, welcomed the results of the 2014/15 crop: 13 of the 19 beet growing countries of the EU-28 achieved new record yields in 2014/15. The provisional EU-28 average 2014/15 sugar yield stands at around 12.8 t/ha, above the 2011/12 record of 12.2 t/ha. This reflects the good climatic conditions during the crop season but also the progress made by breeders and by beet growers in ensuring sustainable beet growing.

However, beet growers expressed strong concern about the extremely difficult situation on the European sugar market (43% drop in EU average sugar price since January 2013). European beet growers will react by carrying forward large quantities of beet and sugar into MY 2015/16 and by reducing their 2015 beet area by around 12%. They also expressed strong concern about the uncertainties ahead of the abolition of the sugar quota system as from 1st October 2017. They call on the European Commission and on the recently established Sugar Expert Group to lift these uncertainties rapidly and give clear signals to the sector, and in particular:

  • to oppose any temporary measures (additional raw sugar imports and out-of-quota release) in MYs 2014/15 and 2015/16 as the EU sugar market is more than sufficiently supplied;
  • to issue rapidly the modalities regarding the aid for private storage for sugar in the light of the very low level of sugar market price;
  • to stand firm on bilateral or multilateral agreements. No further access to the EU sugar market should be granted to third countries;
  • to ensure actively at WTO that competitors in third countries respect their WTO commitments. The European Commission deregulates its sugar policy and imposes on the EU sugar sector a strict respect of the WTO sugar exports limit. At the same time Thailand, India and Brazil are actively regulating and supporting their sugar industry;
  • to ensure an equal treatment of sugar producers and isoglucose producers with regards to carry forward in MY 2016/17;
  • to include the necessary rules as from 1st October 2017 in the upcoming horizontal implementing regulations of the sCMO to ensure transparency on the market and appropriate information for sugar beet growers concerning:

- a detailed price reporting scheme based on prices collected from undertakings as well as
- a sugar, isoglucose and ethanol balance sheet based on statistics collected from undertakings.

Furthermore, after 3 years of discussions, European beet growers call on the European Institutions and the Member States to rapidly implement a stable and consistent EU policy on renewable energy with at least a 7% biofuels share in petrol, ensuring the future of the development of bioethanol production in the EU.