Full co-operation with a feasibility study on the possible return of sugar beet growing and the development of an Irish sugar and ethanol industry has been promised by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney.
The minister told a delegation from the lobby group BEET Ireland at a meeting in Dublin last week that he would be interested in getting an accurate study on the viability of re-establishing the industry.
He assured BEET Ireland that any assistance needed for the study from the Department of Agriculture would be made available.
A feasibility study on the viability of a sugar and ethanol industry for Ireland is due to be completed by the middle of May this year.
The study is being carried out on behalf of BEET Ireland by the Dublin-based engineering consultancy PM Group.
Michael Hoey, chairman of BEET Ireland, said he was delighted with the outcome of the meeting.
"I am very confident that the results of the PM Group feasibility study will be positive, opening the door to the future of a commercially viable sugar beet and ethanol processing industry in Ireland that will be firmly in farmer control," Mr Hoey said.
Growers are advised to express their declaration of interest in growing a sugar beet crop and to support the initiative by registering online at the website www.sugarbeet.ie which was created by the group.
Beet Ireland said the website had been registered with data commissioners, was fully confidential and the information provided by farmers when registering went directly to the sugar beet feasibility team at the PM group.