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10 September 2011 | Helen Gilbert
The EU looks set to abolish the system of sugar production quotas by 2016 it has emerged.
A Brussels source, who did not wish to be named, made the claim ahead of the EU publishing its latest set of proposals on CAP (Common Agricultural Policy), of which sugar quotas are a part, in mid-October.
Food and drink suppliers recently called on the EU to help manufacturers crippled by the soaring cost of sugar either by increasing sugar quotas or abandoning them.
James Lambert, CEO and executive chairman of ice cream manufacturer R&R, warned that there was currently no quota left to purchase sugar in the UK, while the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said sugar shortages and high prices were causing problems for many of its members.
Tony Bennett, government affairs and strategy manager at Tate and Lyle Sugars said he was aware of rumours suggesting sugar production quotas might be abolished and would wait to see what next month brings.
He told SM: “It is all well and good saying the sugar market is being liberalised by removing production quotas but the cane sector is suffering pretty catastrophically from restrictions of volumes to import.
“Our concern is that whatever is done in terms of freeing up of availability of raw material for the beet sector we would require the same for the cane sector. We need equal treatment in order to create a truly fair and competitive landscape.”
The FDF said it supported ‘further review’ of the sugar regime to take account of changes in the world market since the previous 2005 reforms.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs added: “We’re awaiting the formal publication of the European Commission’s proposals in mid-October. The UK wants to see ambitious reform of the Common Agricultural Policy [of which sugar quotas are a part] which helps to create a truly competitive, thriving and sustainable EU agriculture sector.”
The EU Commission declined to comment.