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East Anglian farmers are cutting back on "high-risk" irrigated crops like potatoes, onions and carrots this year in response to the growing threat of a second summer drought. North Norfolk grower Tony Bambridge, who chairs the National Farmers’ Union’s regional board for East Anglia, is reducing his potato area by about 10pc, and replacing it with less risky sugar beet, for which prices have risen in recent years.
S&P Global Commodity Insights has cut its 2022/23 forecast for sugar output in the European Union plus United Kingdom by 570,000 tonnes to 16.8 million, citing the impact of a recent pesticide ban. The outlook still represents growth of 1 million tonnes versus the 2022/23 sugar crop. S&P Global said in an industry note seen by Reuters it now expects the sugar beet planted area in leading EU producer France to shrink by 7% in 2023/24. Overall though, it sees the beet planted area in the EU plus UK rising 1%, though this forecast has also been lowered following the ban.
In response to the challenges of decarbonization and modernizing its infrastructure, Tereos has announced a project to resize its industrial footprint in France. The project includes an end to sugar operations at Escaudoeuvres, closure of an alcohol distillery at Morains, and the sale of its potato starch operations at Haussimont.
The virus yellows forecast was released on 1st March. It is important to remember that this forecasts the proportion of the crop that is expected to show virus yellows symptoms in the absence of any control measures. It is a national forecast based on a 30th March sowing date. The forecasted incidence of virus yellows for 2023 is 67.5%. The date of the first arrival of aphids in crops in 2023 is forecasted from 22nd April. The forecasted virus level is above the threshold of 63% required to trigger the use of Cruiser SB on seed in 2023. In 2020, the forecast was 85% with a first arrival date of aphids of 24th March. Last year, the forecast was 69% with an expected aphid flight date of 18th April.
Dr Fred Zeller, General Manager of SZVG, the majority shareholder of Südzucker AG, discussed perspectives for European sugar beet and sugar production at the Dubai Sugar Conference this week. Weather extremes, increasing costs, pests and deseases as well as political framework will lead to limited sugar production in Europe and increasing sugar prices.
The French sugar beet crop area is set to fall to a 14-year low this year despite high prices, with farmers deterred by potential crop damage because of pesticide restrictions, the head of beet growers group CGB said on Tuesday. Based on seed purchases, farmers are expected to sow 6-7% less in 2023 than the previous year, CGB Director General Nicolas Rialland told Reuters at the Paris farm show. A 6% fall would bring the area sown with sugar beet, mostly used to make sugar and ethanol, to 378,000 hectares for its lowest since 2009, official data showed. The crop area was 402,000 hectares in 2022.
Lawmakers in Germany have proposed tightening regulations on junk-food advertising “to protect children’s health”. Adverts aimed at under 14s for food and drinks containing “too much” sugar, salt or fat should be banned, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) said. Suggestions include banning junk-food adverts between 6am and 11pm across social media, outdoor and television marketing. Food and Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir said the proposals have the backing of a “broad social alliance” which “emphatically demands comprehensive regulation”. However, the German Food Association said it “sharply rejects” the government’s claims food companies are profiteering from “ruining children’s health”. It criticised the definition of what would be banned, claiming it was unclear and could encompass 70% of food product adverts. It also argued there are “no reliable scientific studies on the effectiveness of advertising restrictions on overall nutrition and the development of childhood obesity”.
AB Sugar traded strongly in the first half with revenues expected to be some 26% higher than the same period last year due to higher sugar prices in Africa and Europe and an increase in bioethanol sales following the recommissioning of Vivergo. The adjusted operating profit margin at AB Sugar is expected to reduce as the contribution from higher sugar and coproduct prices was more than offset by the impact of higher energy costs and, for Vivergo, also higher wheat costs which led to a loss in the half year. Adjusted operating profit for AB Sugar is expected to be well ahead of the same period last year. European sugar prices continued to improve over last year as a result of lower European sugar production. Estimates for EU sugar production in the 2022/23 campaign are now some 10% lower than last year due to lower yields caused by adverse weather and a smaller growing area. Both European and world sugar prices remain high. Our UK and Spanish businesses have largely contracted sales for the year at these improved prices. UK sugar production for the 2022/23 campaign is still expected to be 0.74 million tonnes, down from 1.03 million tonnes from the last campaign. This fall in production reflects lower beet sugar yields following unusually adverse weather conditions. British Sugar has moved swiftly to secure alternative sources of supply and is working with customers to ensure continuity of supply. Energy cost inflation has been significant even though mitigated by government support. The shortfall in UK sugar beet production will result in much lower profitability at British Sugar in the second half.
Sugar was the cargo that stood out the most at the Port of Santos in January, up 37.2% year-on-year, totaling 1.2 million tonnes. The commodity was the highlight among export cargoes, accompanied by corn, which also performed well, totaling 1.4 million, a growth of 43.2%. The performance of these goods increased the movement of solid bulk by 0.9%. The overall movement in January was 10.1 million tonnes, a 4.7% decrease from the same month last year (10.6 million tons) when the January historical record was set. The drop was primarily caused by a 51% decrease in shipments from the soy complex and a 17.8% decrease in fertilizer arrivals. As a result, January/2023 is the second-best January result in the port’s history.
The European Commission proposes to suspend import duties, quotas and trade defence measures on Ukrainian exports to the EU for another year. This is a "continuation of the EU’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s economy", the Commission stated. The main objective of these autonomous trade measures (ATMs) is to support Ukraine, but the measures are also mindful of EU industry concerns. To this end, and considering a significant increase in imports of some agricultural products from Ukraine to the EU in 2022, the renewed ATMs contain an expedited safeguard mechanism to protect the Union market if necessary. The proposal will now be considered by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union with a view to ensuring seamless transition from the current regime of ATMs to the new one.
Tereos' net debt jumped 22% after the first nine months of its fiscal year. It amounted to €2.9 billion for a turnover of €4.7 billion over the period. The world's fourth largest sugar producer indicates that this evolution is due to "the sharp rise in raw materials and energy, which has mechanically led to an increase inworking capital requirements and impacted the level of debt. This impact will persist into the fourth quarter." The cooperative group warns that at the end of the 2022-2023 fiscal year, net debt will be up compared to the end of March of the previous year. Debt reduction is, however, a priority objective for Tereos. The beet growers who overturned the management in 2020 had made it a major grievance. Since then, the sugar giant has sold several activities with the stated aim of reducing the weight of this debt. Tereos sold its starch division in September 2021 in China, then it divested itself of its assets in Mozambique and finally, in early February, the Ludus sugar factory in Romania. The group said it had issued a new bond issue on January 24 for 350 million euros, in order to improve its financial structure while extending the maturity of its debt.
With the Genetic Technologies (Precision Breeding) Bill having almost completed its parliamentary progress, the NFU23 sugar breakout session looked to the opportunities of GE (gene editing) for the homegrown beet crop. NFU Sugar Board Chair Michael Sly said the technologies should be viewed with optimism, after a year in which a catalogue of extreme weather was capped by the emergence of beet moth. East Anglia Regional Director Zoe Leach reiterated the timeliness of the Bill, while Dr Penny Hundleby, of the John Innes Centre, underlined the similarities between GE and traditional breeding techniques – and the differences. Both produce traits that could have occurred naturally, she stressed – unlike ‘GM’ which results in DNA being moved from other species – but GE can do in a matter of months what might otherwise take many years.
A week after the protests, French Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau sat down with the beet sector to present the principles of a support and action plan. This should ensure adequate beet production by 2023 and the supply of the French sugar sector. The plan stipulates that France will ensure that the Court of Justice's decision is applied in the same way in all EU countries, in order to ensure a level playing field. Fesneau also asked the Agriculture Council in Brussels to trigger a safeguard clause to prevent imported products from outside the EU from coming from beets treated with neonics. The second objective of the support and action plan is the rapid introduction of new plant protection measures, based on the National Research and Innovation Plan (PNRI). These will be made available to growers through the Technical Institute for Beets (ITB) and can then be used from this spring in case of yellowing disease on the plots. Soon, models for the prediction of aphid flights from a PNRI project will also be used. Financial compensation The third pillar of the plan is financial compensation to growers if they lose yield due to yellowing disease in 2023. According to Agrobericht Buitenland, the damage is fully covered in such cases. The government is going to ask for the introduction of a European crisis measure for this and is already working with the European Commission to build up the system.
Consumers are keen to pick sustainable food products even if they cost more, but are deterred by a lack of trust in the labels meant to mark food as green, according to a leading European Commission official for justice and consumers. Food labelling has become a hot topic in recent months, ahead of a contentious Commission proposal on front-of-pack food labelling, expected this spring. The EU executive is also expected to table plans for a ‘substantiating green claims initiative’ in March, which is set to impose penalties on companies making unsubstantiated environmental claims about their products, according to a draft seen by EURACTIV. “There are lots of good companies, good farmers and good individuals that try to promote sustainable products, but we want to make sure that those who are really doing the job and going green are rewarded and that consumers are not misled by greenwashing,” Nils Behrndt, Deputy Director-General at the Commission’s justice and consumers department, said.
Mercore, the global trade focused fintech group, today announced that it has executed a trade finance transaction utilising an electronic payment undertaking (ePU) structure (in digital bill of exchange format) working with one of its SME clients, Abercore, a UK based sugar trader and advisory firm. This pilot transaction by Mercore was for an amount of circa €118k and is the first in a series of ‘digital bills of exchange’ transactions with greater size and frequency. The underlying transaction involved the sourcing of sugar by Abercore from Pantaleon in Nicaragua for onward supply to a UK based food manufacturer.
The current price of sugar on the international market is opening a new window of opportunity for beet cultivation in Spain and the rest of Europe. The improvement of commercial margins is allowing the industry to incentivize farmers via price and offer an alternative in rotation that can compete in profitability with corn, wheat and other irrigated production.
British Sugar is mulling imports of beet sugar and cane sugar to make up the shortfall of over a quarter million tonnes forecast for 2022/23 following frost damage to large swathes of crops across England due to cold spells in late December and January.
The European Commission has vowed to continue Ukrainian agricultural exports, intending to address the mounting reports of market disruption at the war-torn country’s borders through Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) support measures. However, despite rumours that some EU countries were pushing for a restriction or ban on grain exports from Ukraine, EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski was quick to put such ideas to bed. “There was not a single member state that said that Ukraine trade restrictions or ban would be an option,” he told reporters at a press conference following the meeting of EU agriculture ministers. He stressed that, to the contrary, EU countries were united in their support for Ukraine.
Tereos announces the signature today of the takeover of its sugar activity in Romania by two independent Romanian investors (Mihaela Neagu and Mihail-Daniel Matache, investors in the agri-food and consumer food sector). Tereos is pleased today to have found a buyer for the Ludus industrial site, for which the Group had announced plans to close in 2021. “It is a bold project that we wished to undertake with the aim of relaunching sugar production in the country this year. In 2021, sugar from beet grown in Romania provided about 25% of domestic consumption needs. We will start negotiations with farmers in the next few days, as the sugar beet for the autumn 2023 campaign is to be contracted during this period. We want to assure the 300 or so growers in the region that we are open to collaboration and we also want to assure the more than 150 employees that they will keep their jobs,” says Mihaela Neagu, independent investor. Reuters reports: Best Achizitii, a company founded by Neagu, took over another Romanian sugar factory, Bod Sugar, last year, according to local media reports.
During the campaign in the Netherlands, nearly 7.5 million tonnes of beets were processed: 7,434,158 tonnes to be exact. The sugar beets from the southern part of the country are processed in Dinteloord, while those from the north go to Vierverlaten. Since the sugar beet growing conditions in September were worse in the southern part of the country due to considerable rain, the sugar percentage of the beets processed in Dinteloord was also somewhat lower than in Vierverlaten. In Dinteloord, that percentage was 16.08% compared to 16.94% in Vierverlaten. This resulted in 483,391 tonnes of sugar in Dinteloord and 512,408 tonnes in Vierverlaten. The thick juice tanks on both locations have been filled and this thick juice will be processed into granulated sugar within a few months. The total amount of granulated sugar will then be more than 1.2 million tonnes.
Thailand and the EU have agreed upon the joint political will to pursue free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations, with the long-awaited talks scheduled to kick off in the first quarter of this year. Speaking after a meeting in Brussels with the EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis on Wednesday evening, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the two sides agreed on the political intention to form the FTA. This is the first time the two parties have jointly expressed their political intention to pursue internal processes to pave the way for a free-trade pact. Mr Jurin said he would shortly ask for the Thai cabinet's consent to go ahead with the FTA plan. "Both parties have pledged to complete the internal processes as fast as possible so that the FTA talks could start in the first quarter of this year," he said. Thai products expected to reap benefits from such a pact, if implemented, include automobiles and parts, garments, electronics, chemicals, rubber, plastics, food and processed food products, machinery and parts, construction, and leather products. Thai products likely to feel the pinch from the FTA include sugar, vegetables, fruits and beans. See also: https://thainews.prd.go.th/en/news/detail/TCATG230127104309024
In response to a European Parliamentary question concerning the “tense sugar market in 2022/2023”, the Agriculture Commissioner Mr Janusz Wojciechowski said on 27 January 2023 that it “is currently not considered appropriate to introduce an exceptional measure like the opening of additional tariff quotas”. Members of the European Parliament Peter Jahr (PPE) and Marlene Mortler (PPE) said that food producers are reporting existential challenges as markets face a critical situation, with extreme price hikes for sugar, glucose, dextrose and starch being a particular source of concern. In addition, high energy prices are driving an increased demand for bioenergy, they said. The MEPs noted the Commission outlook for 2022/2023 forecasts a reduction in sugar production of more than one million tonnes. The decline in production is offset by a reduced demand for sugar for food and reduced exports of sugar-containing foods. “What action does the Commission intend to take in order to curb supply-driven inflation, especially for white sugar, glucose, dextrose and starch?”, and “to what extent does energy recovery affect the sugar market and sugar market prices?”, the MEPs asked. Commissioner Wojciechowski replied that measures to reduce energy demand, ensure alternative supplies and accelerate the rollout of renewables will have a direct or indirect positive impact on the sugar market, as well as other factors such as domestic supply/demand, imports, world prices, etc. He also said that any potential tightness on the domestic market can be addressed by existing preferential access, including from Ukraine, and hence it is currently not considered appropriate to introduce an exceptional measure like the opening of additional tariff quotas. Commissioner Wojchiechowski assured the MEPs that the Commission is, “very closely monitoring the evolution of all key parameters linked to the evolution of the EU sugar market in view of a timely detection of any risk of disturbance in the market”.
Cristal Union has announced a new price target for sugar beet in 2023 for the cooperative group, which is mobilizing to help its members following the announcement by the Court of Justice of the European Union to prohibit derogations from the use of neonicotinoids for beet seeds. The figure of 45 € / t of beet is a strong increase in remuneration for the next season. Last November, Cristal Union spoke of a target of 40 € / t. "Our role as a cooperative is to help our members get through this," says Olivier de Bohan, President of Cristal Union. "This is why, in addition to technical support to define the best intervention protocols by region, we have taken the decision to raise the price target for beet for the 2023 harvest to €45 per tonne at 16°. In this context, we are sending a strong signal to our cooperators to support them and encourage them to maintain or even increase their beet areas".
The introduction of the soft drinks industry levy – the ‘sugary drinks tax’ – in England was followed by a drop in the number of cases of obesity among older primary school children, according to Cambridge researchers. Taking into account current trends in obesity, their estimates suggest that around 5,000 cases of obesity per year may have been prevented in year six girls alone. The study, published today in PLOS Medicine, looked at the impact of the levy on reception age children and those in year six, but found no significant association between the levy and obesity levels in year six boys or younger children from reception class. The research was supported by the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) and the Medical Research Council.
Just before Britain’s sugar tax was introduced in April 2018, various advocates of the policy were handed £1.5 million of taxpayers’ money to evaluate it. Marking your own homework is considered perfectly normal in ‘public health’. With the case for sugary drink taxes now ‘proven’ in the fairytale world of ‘public health’ academia, taxes on ‘confectionery, biscuits, desserts, and cakes’ will no doubt be next. And when those taxes also patently fail to reduce obesity, we can expect a lavishly funded evaluation team to turn up wielding the carefully selected findings from another dodgy model to prove that those, too, have been a triumph.
In a trading update for the 16 weeks to 7 January 2023, Associated British Foods, reported the company expects the operating result at AB Sugar to be broadly in line with last year as a result of a much-reduced UK sugar crop, and for trading at Ingredients to be better. UK sugar production from the 2022/2023 campaign is now expected to be some 0.74 million tonnes, lower than our previous forecast of 0.9 million tonnes and compares to 1.03 million tonnes from our last campaign. This reflects lower beet sugar yields following adverse weather conditions, especially recently. Profitability at British Sugar will be lower than expected as a result. Sugar production at Illovo is expected to be higher than forecast and will be above last year’s 1.45 million tonnes. Vivergo, our bioethanol plant in Hull, has been operating well but made a loss in the period due to volatility in its energy and other input costs and bioethanol prices. An increase in AB Sugar revenues of 31% (+27% at constant currency) reflect higher sugar and co-product prices in Europe and Africa. Input cost inflation is becoming less volatile and recently some commodity costs have declined. However, all our businesses continue to work hard to restore margins which have been and remain under pressure.
On 24 January 2023, the Commission presented 'A New Deal for Pollinators' to tackle the alarming decline in wild pollinating insects in Europe, revising the 2018 EU Pollinators Initiative. Citizens have been increasingly calling for decisive action against pollinator loss, also through the recent successful European Citizens' Initiative ‘Save Bees and Farmers'. The renewed initiative sets out actions to be taken by the EU and the Member States to reverse the decline of pollinators by 2030 as today, one in three bee, butterfly and hoverfly species are disappearing in the EU. It complements the Commission's proposal for a Nature Restoration Law of June 2022 and is a key part of the Biodiversity Strategy 2030, the Farm to Fork Strategy and the European Green Deal.
Australia’s agricultural minister has been touring the UK and Europe to promote export trade following the UK-Australia free-trade deal. The trade deal has been criticised by the UK farming industry and in November 2022, former Defra secretary George Eustice told the House of Commons it was “not actually a very good deal for the UK”. Senator Murray Watt visited the Tate & Lyle sugar refinery in London on 17 January as part of the trip. Mr Watt said Australia wanted to get more sugar into the UK as quickly as possible and companies such as Tate & Lyle were keen to see that product coming in as well. A spokesperson for Tate & Lyle said the sustainability credentials of Australian sugar could offset the high cost, adding that a first cargo could arrive before the summer.
National sugar beet crop could face serious losses due to risk from aphids – more than 50% of UK sugar comes from domestic production. Defra has approved an emergency temporary authorisation for the use of a neonicotinoid pesticide treatment on this year’s sugar beet crop due to the risk to the crop from yellows viruses. Emerging sugar beet seedlings are vulnerable to predation from aphids that have the potential to spread beet yellows virus, which can severely affect sugar beet yield and quality. In 2020, 25% of the national sugar beet crop was lost, costing £67m of total economic loss across an industry that creates nearly 10,000 jobs. Defra has attached strict conditions to the emergency authorisation including only allowing for application if independent modelling predicts a virus incidence of 63% or above. If the virus threshold is not met, then the neonicotinoid treated seed will not be used. See also: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/neonicotinoid-product-as-seed-treatment-for-sugar-beet-emergency-authorisation-application/defra-economic-analysis-evidence-report-on-the-impacts-of-virus-yellows-on-sugar-beet-production AND https://www.gov.uk/government/news/emergency-pesticide-authorisation-approved-to-protect-national-sugar-beet-crop
Coming so soon after the Government of France opened consultations on the use of neonicotinoids to treat sugar beet seed, and so soon before planting the new crop this year, the European Court of Justice has ruled that as regards [sugar beet] seed treated with plant protection products containing substances expressly prohibited, the Court considers that the legislature did not intend to allow Member States to derogate from such an express prohibition [on the use of neonics].
The EU’s highest court ruled on Thursday (19 January) that EU countries should no longer be allowed temporary exemptions for banned, bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides, putting half of all such derogations to an end. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) confirmed that member states will no longer be allowed to grant derogations temporarily permitting the use of seeds treated with ‘expressly banned’ plant protection products by EU law. The ruling came in the wake of a request for annulment before the Belgian Administrative Court on the derogation given by Belgium for the use of these bee-toxic insecticides on sugar beets. The request was brought by the campaigner groups Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe and Nature & Progrès Belgium together with a Belgian beekeeper.
Sugar segment's revenues rose significantly to EUR 2,366 (previous year: 1,969) million during the reporting period. Global increases in agricultural commodity prices also impact the EU sugar price level since the start of the new 2022/23 sugar marketing year (1 October 2022 to 30 September 2023). With a slight decline in volumes, overall sales revenues were significantly higher than the previous year. Operating result improved substantially to EUR 132 (previous year: -10) million. However, the significant increase in revenues was also offset by a clear rise in raw material, energy and packaging costs. These costs will again increase significantly for the sugar segment from the 2022 campaign. The performance in the third quarter of 2022/23 was favored in part by the sale of sugar inventories from the 2021 campaign at the beginning of the new sugar marketing year.
The Sugar segment’s revenue in the first three quarters was € 659.8 million, up 33.9% from one year earlier. Both higher sugar selling prices and increased sugar sales volumes led to this growth. Sugar EBIT of € 34.7 million marked a pronounced improvement from the double-digit loss of the year-earlier period. This very positive trajectory was attributable to significantly improved margins thanks to the favourable sales price environment and disciplined cost management. Given the upward trend in sugar prices, AGRANA expects beet prices to be attractive to farmers in the next crop year as well.
The VIVE Programme, a sustainability programme based on continuous improvement for the food and beverage industry, strengthens its commitment to tackling the climate emergency [sic] by announcing its new Climate Action programme today. Developed over the past 12 months with partner Quantis, a leading environmental sustainability consultancy recently acquired by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the programme enables businesses across the sugar supply chain to effectively measure and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in alignment with science-based targets. Pilot programmes are already taking place in Thailand and Brazil.
A Cereals event host farmer is expecting his sugar beet yields to take a “hit” after the crop suffered seven days of frost damage. Robert Law says sugar content has dropped from 15.5% to 14.2% in his beet, which is due to be harvested at Chrishall Grange Farm, Royston, Cambridgeshire, on Friday (13 January). “This is the first time since 2010 we have had a lot of frost damage,” said Mr Law, who farms 500ha at Chrishall Grange, as part of a 1,600ha mixed farming enterprise, including cereals, a 1,800-ewe flock and 60 suckler cows.
Frost and thaw were fatal to hundreds of hectares of beets. The quality of the product also forced Belgian sugar factories to idle. The severe frost that hit the countryside around 10 December had serious consequences for sugar factories and some farmers. For several days, Belgian factories have been idling because of the quality of the beet that is transported. "In a few days, we went from -9° to +14," says Guy Paternoster, CEO of the Raffinerie Tirlemontoise (Südzucker group). Although all the piles were protected, we had damage. Especially at the foot of the piles or in the parts exposed to the wind." Fast freezing and thawing caused the beets to rot: "the inside becomes spongy. We then find gelatin in the process that blocks the filtration." Technically, "sucrose degrades to dextran. It's an eraser that clogs the filters."
Mintec, the leading global provider of price data, analytics, and forecasts for agri-food, today announced the acquisition of AgriBriefing, which includes the brands Urner Barry, Strategie Grains, FeedInfo and Tropical Research Services. Building on previous acquisitions by Mintec – Kairos Commodities and CommoPrices – this establishes the combined company as the largest agri-food-focused PRA and global information provider with a unique portfolio of feed-to-food commodity prices, forecasts, cost modeling tools and fundamental market data, serving over 5,000 customers in 50 countries.
AgriBriefing, the leading agri-food price reporting agency, today announces the acquisition of Tropical Research Services (TRS). TRS provides proprietary field research and market data for clients involved in a range of tropical commodity products including coffee, cocoa, sugar, cane ethanol, tropical oils, grains and oilseeds. TRS was originally an in-house research unit of a large US asset-management company before being spun out as a standalone entity in 2009. The business was founded by Steve Wateridge & Sean Diffley. Steve had been Head of Coffee and Cocoa Research at ED&F Man – the large global commodity trading house. Sean also had a background with ED&F Man where he had been the Head of Global Trading in their sugar division. The business now has a network of field agents and specialist analysts in West Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. Large clients involved in the production, trading and procurement of tropical commodities rely on TRS to provide proprietary fundamental analysis for these markets.
There are still sugar beets in the ground in the Netherlands, especially in the coastal regions. The Dutch beet campaign is expected to end on January 26. The highest sugar contents are still for beets from the northern provinces. For example, the sugar content in the Groningen sandy area was still at 17.1 percent in the last week of December, and good figures are also still being achieved on the clay – 16.7 percent – and peat – 17 percent – in that province. The Wieringermeerpolder in North Holland is also doing well with 16.6 percent. In the southwestern regions, where most of the beets still have to be grubbed up, the sugar percentages are much lower. In Zeeland the average percentage does not exceed 16 percent and in West Brabant the sugar content reached 15 percent in the last week of December. So far in the current campaign, the national average is 16.6 percent.
The government of Barbados will gradually begin the promised privatization of the national sugar industry, at the end of the sugar harvest in April this year, an official source announced. The State will stop injecting close to 30 million US dollars annually to the sector and this will give way to the transition process, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, told the press. We would first start with the employee entitlement program and then also with shares available to the public, he said.
Farmers perceive themselves in a weak negotiating position in the food supply chain, especially compared with processors, traders, wholesalers, and the large retailers. As primary producers, most are price takers, not price makers. On most occasions, they must accept the prevailing market price for their food products. For many, there are limited opportunities for alternative markets. A new report launched at the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) argues that a fairer position for farmers in the food supply chain is essential for the UK to build long-term resilience into its domestic agricultural sector.
The Government of France has submitted a draft order for public consultation which would authorize the use of sugar beet seeds treated with the neonicotinoids imidacloprid or thiamethoxam for a period of 120 days until 1 July 2023, in other words in adequate time for the 2023 sugar beet campaign which is expected to be sown in March 2023. The 2023 sugar beet campaign is the last campaign for which an order derogating from the neonicotinoid ban is likely to be adopted, the Ministry of Agriculture specified. Meanwhile, the French government has funded a national research and innovation plan (PNRI) for a total amount of more than 20 million euros with co-financing from Inrae, ITB and private companies, in particular seed companies, focused on combatting sugar beet yellows to provide operational solutions to farmers within three years. This year, 2023, will be the last year of scientific trials, with deployment of alternatives to neonicotinoids anticipated to be available for sugar beet sowing in March 2024.
Publication of the 2023-24 harvest price as early as July 2022 – with £40/t available, depending on commitment – was a surprise for many growers and a sign of the pressures from high commodity crop prices on all processors, says Andersons director Jamie Mayhew. A cash advance on a proportion of the 2022-23 crop, along with an increased guaranteed price, gave further confidence to the sector. Similar to potatoes, the 2023 contract felt like a critical moment for the industry. There was a good chance that if the price didn’t meet expectations, it would have resulted in a significant reduction in area, supported by buoyant cereal prices. Attracting growers to return to the crop would have required a further increase.
With new European Union (EU) packaging rules on the horizon, the bakery and snacks sectors are gearing up to address packaging requirements and waste management policies that better reflect market and environmental needs. On 30 November 2022, the European Commission released its final proposal for an updated packaging and packaging waste regulation (PPWD), amending the European Union’s (EU) 2019/2020 regulation and 2019 directive. If adopted, the proposed revision will expedite the EU’s goal to make all packaging reusable or recyclable by 2030 and strive to help it reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The inclusion of fertilisers in the landmark EU’s carbon border levy turned up agri-food stakeholders’ noses as they fear more costs for farmers and undermining the potential of the sector in the green transition. Following weeks of intense negotiations under the Czech Presidency of the EU, legislators have reached breakthrough agreements on a number of key files within the Fit for 55 package, including the final elements of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) agreement. The agreement, which was struck on 13 December, will pave the way for Europe to set up the world’s first levy on carbon-intensive goods entering its market. The EU’s carbon border adjustment mechanism will apply to foreign competitors unless they enforce comparable measures to lower emissions on the industries covered by the levy. However, the final deal has been lambasted by EU agrifood stakeholders, who reserved criticism for the decision to include fertilisers. “This inclusion will make the price skyrocket further, increasing the cost of agricultural production in Europe, whilst making the use of imported food more competitive and attractive,” a statement from the EU farmers’ association COPA-COGECA reads. For the association, this ‘double penalty’ for farmers would be ‘unbearable’, considering the current and foreseeably increasing price of fertilisers, already at a historic high thanks to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The beet area in Europe is shrinking. In addition, land hunger is increasing and the impact of new policy is decreasing among arable farmers. Nevertheless, Cosun Beet Company remains positive about the prospects for sugar beet cultivation. Cosun is running a good campaign and the beet price for 2022 seems to be a good amount. 'Between 52 and 60 euros per ton', predicts agronomy manager Rik Gengler. This week he updated growers from Eastern Flevoland in Dronten about the state of affairs at Cosun and the current beet campaign. The turnout was good with more than a hundred seats occupied by arable farmers. A higher beet price is badly needed to remain competitive with other crops. The positive forecast for the beet price has everything to do with the prospects for the sugar market in Europe. 'The European beet area is declining, so buyers are getting nervous,' says Gengler. 'Cosun benefits optimally from this.' The world market price for white sugar on the commodity exchange in London is now quoted at 530 euros per tonne. European prices are even higher.
Brazil, India, EU, Thailand, and China are responsible for 65% of the world’s sugar production. Each has its particularities when considering sugar cost of production that can range from USD350/mt for raw sugar in Brazil to USD833/mt for crystal sugar in China.
European Union negotiators reached agreement early on Sunday morning (18 December) to reform the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), the biggest carbon market in the world and the bloc’s flagship climate policy instrument. The ETS currently caps the emissions of around 10,000 factories and power plants, allowing those with surplus credits to make a profit by selling CO2 permits on the market. The scheme is now being extended to cover more sectors of the economy in order to align with the EU’s 2030 climate goal – a commitment to reduce net emissions by 55% before they are eventually brought down to zero by 2050. “This deal will provide a huge contribution towards fighting climate change,” said Peter Liese, a German lawmaker who steered negotiations on behalf of the European Parliament. The reformed scheme “provides a clear signal to European industry that it pays off to invest in green technologies,” he added, saying the reformed EU carbon market now “covers almost all the sectors of the economy” after a decision was made to extend the scheme to maritime emissions and waste incineration.