Irish beet plants back in business

By FWi staff

SUGAR beet factories reopened in Ireland this week.

A three-and-a-half week dispute between growers and Irish Sugar over price saw processing grind to a standstill.

An agreement was brokered by agriculture minister Joe Walsh and deputy prime minister Mary Harney.

Under it, Irish Sugar will pay an extra Euro1.5/t (Ir1.18/t) on the contract premium this year, taking the total premium to Euro5/t (Ir3.93/t).

A further 90Euro¢/t (Ir70p/t) will be added next season, though almost half of this will be subject to achieving certain efficiency gains.

Supplies to the companys two plants at Mallow and Carlow dried up in early November.

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) had accused the processor of cutting prices by 10%, through its refusal to pay last seasons contract premium and the removal of crown tare concessions.

Irish Sugar has now said it is willing to maintain prices at last years “on account” value.

However, the deal includes a five-year “peace clause”, under which the IFA undertakes not to disturb any of Irish Sugars sister businesses.

In return, all outstanding legal action against the IFA has been dropped.

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