To mark the first anniversary of the EU Referendum, Farmers Guardian has asked a number of key figures from the NFU to explain how things have changed for the industry over the past 12 months.
Sugar board chairman Michael Sly continues our week-long mini-series with an in-depth look at the sugar sector.
One year on, the priority for the sugar sector is to ensure Brexit delivers a level playing field where UK beet farmers can compete with the best in the world.
The newly liberalised EU sugar market has already opened opportunities, and over the next two years the NFU will work to make sure UK sugar beet producers are in the best position to take advantage of these.
Agriculture needs a domestic policy and regulatory environment which allows sugar beet growers to cater to the nation’s demand for sugar sustainably and efficiently, while continuing their work caring for the environment.
To do this, we are working closely with Government to ensure we are on a level playing field with the rest of the world.
Britain imports one million tonnes of sugar each year, mostly from African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, derived from sugar cane and refined in the UK. The rest is coming from Europe. It is important that we keep these trading relationships which benefit the poorest countries.
However, allowing subsidised sugar, or products grown to lower standards than society expects of UK farmers, to enter the UK market at below the cost of production would undermine principles of environmental protection and the development of less developed countries through preferential trade.
We are working to ensure that the right opportunities are available through negotiated agreements so our sugar has a place in the UK market place and overseas.