British Sugar has let suppliers down - NFU
THE NFU has called on British Sugar to improve its communications with growers over the current sugar beet crisis.
NFU Sugar Board chairman William Martin said the processor had let itself and its suppliers down with confused communications over the policy of its factories regarding the whereabouts of the damaged sugar beet.
The NFU Council heard from Mr Martin and other sugar beet growers today (Tuesday, January 25), of the ‘devastation’ caused in parts of the east of the country by a combination of a heavy frost followed by mild weather recently.
The result is that many growers have been left unable to harvest some of their sugar beet and that British Sugar has been unable to process large portions of the crop particularly at its Newark plant.
Mr Martin praised British Sugars efforts to keep its factories operating and the action of its operating staff but he said growers were receiving mixed messages over what was happening and were being left in the dark over whether factories were operating and could take their crops.
“British Sugar have failed in their communications and must make more effort to explain what is happening to growers,” said Mr Martin.
He stressed however that the NFU is working with British Sugar to minimise the impact of the crisis on growers and hauliers.
He said the NFU would hold discussions with Defra and the banks over the possibility of speeding up Single Payments to ensure they understand the pressures the growers are under.
He also highlighted the need to ensure livestock farmers suffering from high feed costs had access to condemed beet that was still suitable for animal feed via a fodder bank.