The sustainability of the sugar beet industry in the UK when quotas are removed will rely on building trust and confidence between growers and processors.

That was the message from British Sugar’s managing director, Richard Pike, addressing growers for the first time at the BBRO winter conference.

“We are going to move into a much more competitive environment, with sugar regime reform resulting in quotas coming to an end.

“The reality is that there are other producers of sugar very close to the UK, such as France, who have the ability to be better and more competitive and is something we need to be aware of,” said Mr Pike.

Trust is something Mr Pike said would be difficult to ask for after less than six months in his new role, but pricing was an area he highlighted as a potential place to gain the confidence of growers to maintain supplies for the future.

“We recognise that sugar beet needs to be competitive against other crops and it is very much at the front of our minds.

“We are putting our thoughts into where that price needs to be to give growers confidence to grow the beet crop and invest in the future of the industry,” he added.

In addition to price, Mr Pike also hinted at plans to improve delivery and processing of the national crop and said they would be finalised later this year.

“We need to find a balance that works for all of us,” said Mr Pike.

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