Farm Ireland

Saturday 16 December 2017

Sugar quotas to stay for now

The EU's sugar quota system looks set to stay in place for the foreseeable future, following votes by the European Parliament to maintain the system until 2020.

The move will delay the ambitions of the former local sugar beet industry to restart sugar processing in Ireland.

Food manufacturers severely criticised the decision, citing rocketing sugar prices and the fact that the EU is currently only 73pc self-sufficient in sugar production.

Sugar prices have doubled from €450/t when the Irish industry closed in 2006 to around €900/t today.

The option of Ireland being allowed to supply sugar to Europe while the quota regime continues looks remote, despite the fact that Ireland's production would only account for about 1pc of the EU's output.

Ireland accepted compensation of more than €350m in 2006 in return for exiting the sector. Growers received €220m of this fund.

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Irish Independent