Beet farmers set to bag a bonus as sugar prices rise
- Credit: Gary Naylor
East Anglia’s sugar beet growers are set to benefit from a market-linked bonus later this year, after EU sugar prices hit the required trigger point for the first time.
The sector has endured some challenging weather conditions recently, with the rain-sodden winter harvest campaign followed by near-drought conditions in the spring, bringing warnings of a drop in this season’s yield and an increased disease threat from aphids.
But there was better news for farmers as the reported market price for white sugar reached €379 per tonne in April, above the €375 threshold to trigger bonuses for UK sugar beet growers who had tonnage on a one-year contract with British Sugar for the 2019/20 crop.
British Sugar’s agriculture director, Peter Watson, said: “Although the 2019/20 market-linked bonus will be a relatively small premium this year, we’re pleased to see the mechanism triggered for the first time since it was introduced three years ago.
“We know that last year’s campaign was difficult, with unprecedented weather conditions, so it is welcome to be able to share the upside of the market with our growers.”
The final total amount payable will be determined in the autumn, once the EU Commission has reported average prices for September. It is expected that the bonus will be paid towards the end of 2020.