Spelman praises 'ground breaking' sugar deal

DEFRA Secretary Caroline Spelman has praised the new inter-professional agreement (IPA) between the NFU and British Sugar.

Speaking at the World Association of Beet and Cane Growers Conference last week, her message to delegates was ‘if in doubt, keep talking.’

“I know sugar is an incredibly complex commodity,” she said.

Growers had been through a tough time and now faced more challenges, including increasing outputs, with less inputs as well as environmental and sustainability demands, she added.

‘Ground-breaking’

Mrs Spelman praised the NFU and British Sugar for reaching their ‘ground-breaking’ inter-professional agreement (IPA), which she believed would ‘stand the test of time’, offering stability.

British Sugar’s agricultural director Colm McKay said he was confident the new IPA would develop more certainty and partnership between the processor and growers.

“It is a firm platform on which the industry can build,” he said

Improving crop yields was part of the continuous improvement culture of British Sugar, said Mr McKay. Research was continuous, and distributing the resulting information and best practice to farmers was key to achieving the company’s yield ambitions, he said. “If best practice is replicated, we would see significant improvements.”

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