As I browse the web researching various topics concerning the EU and UK sugar markets, I've been bookmarking interesting weblinks. Some of these are news clippings, some are links to official documents, and some are interesting data sources.
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British farmers fear their sugar beet will go the way of the crop in Ireland, where it hasn’t been grown for sugar since 2006. The crop is also in trouble in France, where last week’s freezing temperatures may have caused severe damage to newly planted sugar beet, adding to problems with crop disease and low prices in recent seasons. More and more British farmers are giving up the crop, saying it’s no longer profitable to grow. The UK’s National Farmers’ Union said recent measures by processor British Sugar are nowhere near enough to stop many growers giving up sugar beet for good when their current contracts finish. The NFU’s Michael Sly said low sugar contract prices, and much greater risks of yield loss from disease, are making sugar beet a non-viable part of the crop rotation for many growers. As a result, the area planted in 2021 is estimated to be reduced by 10-15%. It follows a crop damaged by heavy rains in February, 2020, then the driest May since 1862, and more heavy winter rain which caused harvesting difficulties.
European Union plans to impose taxes on carbon at its border are “discriminatory” and unfair to developing nations, ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India and China have warned. EURACTIV’s media partner Climate Home News reports. In a joint statement, the four nations, known as the BASIC countries, “expressed grave concern regarding the proposal for introducing trade barriers such as unilateral carbon border adjustment”.
The European Union has granted equivalence for UK certified seed of cereal, fodder, beet, vegetable, oil and fibre plants, a move that means seed of these crops can now be exported to EU member states. Exporters from Great Britain will now need to obtain a Phytosanitary Certificate before exporting a batch of seed. They must also arrange with their EU customer the completion of a Common Health Entry Document for Plant Products (CHED PP) through TRACES (Trade Control and Export System). This is an EU online system used by traders or their agents to provide pre-notification of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) goods entering the European Union. The seed will also need to be OECD labelled where it is a species in an OECD scheme; be ISTA sampled; and have an Orange International Certificate.
The transition period has ended and, in theory at least, Brexit is now complete. This should mean there is clarity where future UK-EU relations are concerned. Why, then, are litigators left scratching their heads? Here, we identify three areas of continuing uncertainty where parties should tread with care. When the Brexit trade deal was unveiled at the end of December, it came as no surprise that it said nothing about commercial disputes. These were not covered in the framework document that the deal was based on, and time was short anyway. Despite the importance to the UK of its legal services sector – it generates more than £35bn for the economy every year – facilitating cross-border litigation was clearly not at the top of the government’s list of priorities. The result is not catastrophic – most UK judgments will continue to be enforceable in most EU jurisdictions and breaches of exclusive jurisdiction agreements can often be dealt with by obtaining an anti-suit injunction from the English courts. These agreements will also continue to be supported by EU jurisdiction rules in certain situations, albeit on a discretionary basis. Nevertheless, the lack of any deal concerning commercial litigation is disappointing, since a large measure of continuity could have been achieved quite easily by allowing the UK to rejoin the Lugano Convention 2007 (Lugano), which currently covers the remaining EU member states and three of the four EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland).
Trade between the UK and France has recovered steadily and was “close to normal” during March, according to analysis by French customs officials. After dropping to 80pc of pre-virus levels at the start of the year as Britain’s new trading relationship with the EU came into effect, imports from the UK were at 107pc of reference levels, once the continued effects of the pandemic were taken into account, with exports at 96pc. The figures will raise hopes that UK trade is on track for a swift recovery after a severe fall during January as businesses got to grips with new customs arrangements.
The rainfall and low temperatures of the last week have interrupted the very good start of sowing. In Jülich and Euskirchen, however, about 90% of the land has already been ordered. Experts are also well ahead with 76%. In Appeldorn 65% and 50% of the areas are sown. Also the run-up of the already sown beets is delayed by the cool weather. Now we have to wait for warmer weather. According to the weather forecast, this will not be until the end of next week. In other words, we will have to wait a little longer until the sowing is completed.
Freezing temperatures across much of France this week may have caused severe damage to newly planted sugar beet, adding to the difficulties of a sector hit by crop disease and low prices in recent seasons. In its initial assessment, CGB estimated that between 10,000 and 40,000 hectares of recently sown sugar beet had suffered massive losses that would require replanting, Timothe Masson, a CGB analyst, told Reuters on Wednesday.
With the global food sector using 70% of the world’s freshwater supply, moving food and beverage companies to protect water quality and supply is vital to the continuing availability of our freshwater resources. That’s why Ceres is proud to announce 3 new commitments, representing US$43 billion in annual revenue, to improve water stewardship as part of the Ceres and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) AgWater Challenge. The commitments come from agricultural giants Danone North America, owner of iconic dairy and plant-based brands, leading sweetener and starch producer Ingredion, and global food, confectionery and petcare company Mars, Incorporated. With these 3 commitments, the AgWater Challenge increases sustainably farmed land by 1.2 million acres over the next 10 years.
Rising demand for everything from soybeans to steel has sent the cost of hauling dry goods soaring more than 50% this year. Manufacturing, which first picked up in China, is now accelerating elsewhere, and countries are stepping up commodity purchases to rebuild stockpiles after running them down during lockdowns that slowed port operations and hit economic activity globally. Analysts say the rally isn’t over, with rates to carry unpacked commodities like grains, iron ore and coal -- known as dry bulk -- expected to remain high this year and possibly into 2022. That’s a stark turnaround for a market that slid to a four-year low less than 12 months ago, and comes amid a tight supply of vessels. It’s also happening as the uneven recovery scrambles movements of ship containers, which carry everything from furniture to packed commodities like coffee and white sugar.
The EU agricultural sector has shown resilience during the COVID‑19 crisis. Higher retail sales and home consumption partially compensated for losses in foodservice. With a dynamic global demand and the reopening of foodservice expected once the vaccination campaign is sufficiently advanced, prospects for EU agricultural markets are favourable in 2021.
The late frost episode we are experiencing occurs on young beets, some of which are emerging. This is another blow to our culture after the 2020 campaign. Tereos teams are mobilized to support you and find the best solutions. It is still too early to draw the consequences of the effects of the frost.
Delays, paperwork and additional costs are making British chocolate scarce in Europe. The trade deal struck late last year with the European Union spared Britain from a variety of tariffs that would have inflated the prices of goods that travelled to the mainland. It has not saved British companies from a maddening, unpredictable array of time-consuming, morale-sapping procedures and from stacks of paperwork that have turned exporting to the EU into a sort of black-box mystery.
An inquiry by European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has found that the European Commission should have concluded an updated sustainability impact assessment before signing the EU-Mercosur trade deal. But will this be enough to stop national parliaments from ratifying the deal? Hans Wetzels reports.
Brazil’s Copersucar will take over Cargill’s Alvean stake. Alvean accounts for one-fifth of world’s sugar shipments. Cargill Inc. agreed to sell its 50% stake in the world’s largest sugar trader to its Brazilian partner Copersucar SA as the closely held U.S. agricultural giant shifts focus to its food processing and meat businesses. The deal to offload its stake in Alvean, which handles about a fifth of the world’s sugar shipments, was signed on Tuesday, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The transaction is subject to approval from antitrust authorities. Cargill and Copersucar declined to comment.
More than a fifth of small British exporters have temporarily halted sales to the European Union and 4% have done so permanently, a survey showed on Monday, highlighting problems that have followed the Brexit trade deal. In the survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), 30 out of 132 exporters said they had stopped sales to the European Union temporarily, while five reported having done so permanently. Just over one in 10 said they had set up, or were thinking of establishing, a presence within an EU country, the research, conducted between March 1 and 15, showed.
If the UK farmer turns his back on sugar beet we either import more EU sugar (grown with neonicotinoids) or raw sugar. Support our friends in the Commonwealth or our old EU partners. Thanks to our roving reporter.
Reported EU sugar prices rise 9 €/t to 388 €/t in January 2021 to the highest level since the end of 2017. The European Commission DG AGRI reported on 25 March 2021 a small rise in average sugar prices from 379 €/t to 388 €/t EXW in bulk. These average reported prices exclude the UK as from November 2021.
After a week marked by an AGRIFISH Council, two Trilogues and a Super Trilogue, the Minister of Agriculture, Maria do Céu Antunes, made a positive assessment of the progress made: “We have made progress in the negotiations, we have reached a good agreement principle and we are closer to complete this reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) by the end of the semester (May) and thus guarantee essential predictability for farmers, national administrations and all European citizens”.
Gloomy European sugar beet farmers are cutting back plantings this year, discouraged by poor yields and low prices. This year, French farmers are expected to plant about 6% less sugar beet than in 2020 at 400,000 hectares, Timothe Masson, agronomist at French sugar beet group CGB said. “The main reason for the fall is economical: farmers are not motivated to grow sugar beet anymore,” he said, adding that most of them had lost money last year.
CIUS, the committee of European Sugar Users has placed its support behind the EU Commission and Council in arguing against any changes to the present operation of the region’s sugar markets, reports Neill Barston. A key meeting between the sugar organisation, the EU Commission and European Parliament (pictured) earlier this week had examined legislation surrounding agricultural products that saw the Parliament lobby to create additional operating regulations in a bid to reform the Common Agricultural Policy, which sparked industry concern.
Gene-edited sugar beet with built-in resistance to virus yellows disease could be grown commercially in the UK by the mid-2020s, says British Sugar. The company is investigating gene-edited beet seed as a long-term solution to the disease, which devastated crops across eastern England during the 2020-21 season. If government ministers give the green light, British farmers could be growing sugar beet crops gene edited to be resistant to virus yellows in three to five years, said British Sugar agriculture director Peter Watson.
Angry owners of some of Norfolk's oldest family businesses met with British Sugar and demanded: 'Stop squeezing us on price.' These heads of family farms said the future of an age-old industry based in the county was at risk over a 'looming crisis of confidence' in the crop. Growers of sugar beet - currently sold at around £21 per tonne - say it's unsustainable and are demanding at least £10 per tonne more.
New rules on transparency and sustainability are set to transform the way EFSA carries out its role as risk assessor in the EU food safety system. A new regulation passed by the European Parliament and Council of the EU, which will apply from 27 March, will bolster the Authority’s ability to carry out its risk assessments in accordance with the highest transparency standards. The regulation will strengthen the reliability and transparency of the scientific studies submitted to EFSA and reinforce the governance of the Authority to ensure its long-term sustainability.
Südzucker AG announces preliminary figures. In financial year 2020/21 (1 March 2020 to 28 February 2021) group revenues reached about EUR 6.7 (previous year: 6.7) billion. Group operating result increased in the same period to about EUR 230 (previous year: 116) million. The increase is caused as expected especially by the sugar segment.
The House of Lords EU Committee has today published the first in a series of reports looking beyond Brexit to the future relationship between the UK and EU. This report focuses on the institutional framework contained in the post-Brexit EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, including governance structures and dispute settlement.
Irn-Bru’s full sugar variety is permanently returning to shelves following a successful limited-edition run. Soft drinks manufacturer A.G. Barr changed the formulation of Irn-Bru in 2018 to reduce its sugar content due to a new sugar tax in the UK. When Irn-Bru’s sugar content was first reduced, there was outcry from fans and cans of the original Irn-Bru were reportedly being sold on Ebay at inflated prices, even after they had passed their best before dates. The drink, which comes in 750ml bottles, went on sale again on Monday 22 March. It contains no sweeteners (only sugar) and also contains no caffeine.
A Norfolk farming family has stopped growing sugar beet for the first time in a century - blaming low prices which no longer outweigh the risks of growing the crop. Tom Wright is the fifth generation of his family to grow sugar beet at their diverse mixed farm at Moulton St Mary - just four miles from the Cantley sugar factory which it has supplied for more than 100 years. But this will be the first year since 1912 that there will not be a beet crop within the farm's 350 arable acres, as it will be replaced with oilseed rape or wheat instead.