UK Farmers’ Union Accuse British Sugar of Short-Changing Growers

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News in brief:
– United kingdom’s farmers’ union has accused British Sugar of attempting to short-change sugar beet growers.

– Talks on pricing between both parties stalled, making the company go directly to farmers with an offer, to the union’s displeasure.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has accused British Sugar, the country’s only sugar processor, of trying to short-change sugar beet growers, weeks after global prices for the commodity surged to a 12-year high.

Talks between the union and British Sugar to set the price paid to sugar beet growers had reached a stalemate before descending into acrimony. A report claims that the processor went directly to growers with an offer, which drew the ire of the union as they had not reached an agreement on it.

The NFU said it was “outraged” by British Sugar’s aggressive move. They also accused the processor, a subsidiary of Primark-owner Associated British Foods, of attempting to swindle farmers off their fair share of profits.

As the sole buyer and processor of UK sugar beet, British Sugar is compelled by retained EU regulation to agree the terms governing beet pricing every year with the NFU, the statutory representative of all growers.

Sugar prices have hit their highest level since 2011 in recent months after extreme weather and a warming climate threatened yields, leaving growers with hopes that they would pocket a share of the higher profits.

Meanwhile, the processor has denied the NFU’s accusations, it said that it is offering growers a “fair and competitive” price. The company added that it is facing a number of challenges, including rising energy costs and increased competition from imported sugar.

The NFU is urging members to reject the company’s offer, and is considering further action, including legal ones.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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