1,000 Belgian farmers stopped growing sugar beet

Sunday, December 18, 2022
In five years, 1,000 Belgian farmers have removed sugar beets from their cultivation plans. This is a percentage reduction of 14 percent and means a reduction of the area by 7,000 hectares. Belgian beet cultivation is in a downward spiral. Belgium currently has 6,500 farmers with beets in their cultivation plan. Compared to 2017, this is approximately 1,000 fewer. This represents a decrease of 14 percent. Stopping the farmers corresponds to a reduction of the beet acreage by approximately 7,000 hectares (-12 percent). The beet sector presented this data this week at an event in Gembloux. The decrease is mainly due to uncertain market conditions. This is a reason for the sector to sound the alarm. The shrinkage of the beet acreage is occurring in several EU Member States. Within the entire EU there is a contraction of more than 4 percent. For example, the EU beet area will decrease this year from 1,399 to 1,338 million hectares compared to 2021/22. The largest decline is in Romania (-58 percent) and Hungary (-19 percent), followed by Lithuania (-14 percent) and Croatia (-11 percent), Poland (-10 percent) and Slovakia (-9 percent) . As a result of the area shrinking, the European Commission expects a sugar production of 15.8 million tonnes for the year 2022/23. This is 850,000 tons less than last year. The EU-27 will therefore face a production deficit.
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