Farming Unions Call for Sugar Quota Extension Until 2020 at the Least14 June 2012
EU - At a major CIBE Congress held in France this week, Copa President Gerd Sonnleitner called for EU sugar production quotas to be kept until at least 2020, saying that there has already been a major restructuring of the sector on an unprecedented scale in the 2006 reform. Quotas must be maintained as industry needs a stable market organisation in order to improve its competitiveness, he added.
Speaking at the Congress in Reims on behalf of Copa-Cogeca, Mr Sonnleitner insisted: “Recently, producers have suffered painful economic cuts under the 2006 reform. In the EU, 140,000 beet growers had to abandon sugar beet production and 10,000 jobs were lost.
"Those farmers who continued growing sugar beet had to face up to a significant decline in the minimum beet price and the reference price for white sugar. National quotas were reduced to 85 per cent of EU internal demand, transforming the EU from a net exporter into a net importer."
He continued: “Further progress in plant breeding, through which up to 20 tonnes of sugar per hectare can be achieved in the best beet producing regions, will contribute to a more efficient sector. We also have to maintain the competitiveness of the sector, in comparison to other arable crops sectors.
"In the coming years, the sugar sector will need a stable, common market organisation in order to improve its competitive position further. The need to maintain the existing sugar market organisation until 2020 at the very least, is vital. Our common objective must be to preserve and defend competitive beet production alongside a powerful sugar industry. I therefore oppose phasing out sugar quotas by 2015."
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