Beet producers shut Irish plants
A FIGHT for higher beet prices by farmers in Ireland has closed down two major processing plants, threatening 650 jobs and the future of the sugar industry.
Crops are deteriorating as growers withhold supplies. The Irish Sugar Company is warning that stocks will soon be exhausted. Frantic efforts are under way to try to find a solution. The situation is "absolutely critical", the Irish High Court was told on Wed, Nov 21, and the industrys future could be at risk unless the dispute is resolved.
The showdown over prices started two weeks ago, when 4000 growers, claiming higher production costs, demanded a IR£1/t increase on the IR£3.50/t they receive. The Sugar Company, a subsidiary of Greencore, refused, insisting it "already pays one of the highest beet prices in Europe". *