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South Norfolk
  MP quizzes ministers about
sugar beet quotas

  Richard met with Norfolk beet farmers to listen to their concerns over proposed cuts in sugar beet quotas
From left: John Brooke, Paul Brooke,
John Brown, Richard Bacon MP,
William Easton, John Orford,
Robin Limb (British Sugar),
Gerry Canfer, Dick Barker

SOUTH Norfolk MP Richard Bacon has tabled a parliamentary question about sugar beet quotas following a meeting with a group of local farmers near Diss.

Mr Bacon met with Norfolk beet farmers at Hill Farm, Fersfield, run by John Orford of G J Orford and Partners, to listen to their concerns over proposed cuts in sugar beet quotas.


Most of the farmers present were dependent on sugar beet for around a third of their total income. While British farmers produce only half the sugar consumed in the UK, other European countries such as France grow up to twice as much sugar as they need.

Mr Bacon said: “As Britain does not contribute to subsidised exports, our farmers rightly believe other countries should bear the brunt of quota reductions. Any cuts in production and payment would affect Norfolk farmers severely. They would be forced to shed workers, many of whom have been with them for 20 years and more”.

Sugar beet as a crop has many benefits. It is an excellent rotational crop, improving yields of other crops in alternate years. It is also good for the environment, as beet tops provide food in spring for many birds and animals.

Other economies would also be affected by the cuts. Britain already helps third world countries through the ACP agreement (Afro Caribbean Pacific countries), letting them export sugar cane to the UK duty free.

There is also considerable potential for using beet as a source of bio-fuel. Separately, Mr Bacon has written to Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown asking him to consider improved tax incentives for a domestic bio-fuels industry in the forthcoming Pre-Budget Report.

Richard at the controls of a sugar beet lifter







Richard at the controls of a sugar beet lifter