Farm leaders have described a vote by MEPs to support an extension of the EU’s sugar regime until the 2019-2020 marketing year as significant progress.

The vote, by members of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee (AgriCom), will lay out the basis for further negotiations on the future of the CAP in the coming months.

NFU sugar board chairman William Martin said the committee had recognised the European beet sector would face damaging upheaval if proposals to end the regime in 2015 came to fruition.

“NFU Sugar has worked hard on behalf of farmers to make sure the position of our industry is heard and well understood by MEPs,” said Mr Martin.

“This safeguard is vital to give growers the necessary balance in the market as there is an only one purchaser and processor of sugar beet in this country.”
William Martin, NFU sugar board chairman

“We are therefore delighted they have responded positively to our requests.”

The committee also supported the right of growers to be represented in contractual negotiations by a single body through the powers of an inter-professional agreement.

Mr Martin said: “This safeguard is vital to give growers the necessary balance in the market as there is an only one purchaser and processor of sugar beet in this country.”

The committee’s position will now go forward for a vote by the full European Parliament in Strasbourg in early March.

Growers needed a period of stability following the last major reform of the CAP sugar regime which saw the UK sugar beet industry go through a major restructuring, said Mr Martin.

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