RSPB, WWF and Oxfam join forces to challenge sugar reform proposals

THE ROYAL Society for the Protection of Birds, WWF and Oxfam have joined forces to demand that the EU reforms its sugar regime in a way that benefits poor farmers and the environment.

The non-governmental organisations claim that current reform proposals favour the biggest, richest producers at the expense of poor farmers at home and abroad, and the environment.

The trio is calling for an end to subsidies that cause overproduction, export dumping and damage to the environment.

They say they want a reform package that encourages environmental stewardship and offers improved market access for developing countries.

They also say poor country growers affected by price cuts must be adequately compensated and more help must be offered to the world’s poorest developing countries to strengthen their sugar industries.

Harry Huyton, agriculture policy officer at the RSPB said: “Where and how we grow sugar has a massive impact on wildlife and the environment.
“We should be paying farmers to manage the countryside in a way that gives value for money to the taxpayer.

“Encouraging wildlife is amongst those benefits and farmers should be rewarded for doing so.”

The three agencies are asking their supporters across Europe to email Margaret DEFRA secretary Beckett ahead of next month’s EU Agriculture Council meeting (Sept 19-20).

They have set up a petition which asks Mrs Beckett to champion pro-poor, environmentally friendly sugar reform.