Plan for growers to pay €50k each to restart sugar industry
Farmers interested in getting back into growing sugar beet will be required to buy a €50,000 stake in the new processing business.
This is one of the suggestions from the Beet Ireland feasibility study which is to be launched at the National Ploughing Championships tomorrow morning.
The study, which was carried out by the PM Group, found that the resumption of the sugar industry in Ireland would be viable. However, the plan hinges on 30pc of the €400m investment required being held by beet growers. This would require farmers to invest €112m in the project, which will be divided up among around 2,450 growers in €50,000 blocks. These shares would, in turn, give growers beet quota and processing rights within the new business.
A further €288m is envisaged coming from a combination of private sector investment and bank debt.
A business assessment of the proposal, which was undertaken by Ernst and Young in parallel to the PM Group study, showed that the business case for the venture also made sense.
The feasibility study was presented by a Beet Ireland delegation to the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, and senior officials from the Department of Agriculture last week.
This is the second feasibility study to be carried out on the viability of resuming sugar production and processing in Ireland.