Beet Ireland Launches its Business Plan at the National Ploughing Championships.

28th September, 2011

 

Beet Ireland Launches its Business Plan at the National Ploughing Championships.

 

Redeveloping Ireland’s sugar industry is gathering momentum following the completion of a feasibility study by BEET Ireland and it’s launch last week at the Ploughing Championships in Athy. BEET Ireland in their proposal, recognises the strategic role that sugar and sugar beet can play in Ireland and in our economic recovery.

 

The project will involve a €400 million state of the art processing facility for the production of crystal sugar and bio-ethanol. The facility will have the capacity to produce 250,000 tonnes of refined sugar and 11 million litres of fuel grade bio-ethanol. This will require 1.8 million tonnes of sugar beet grown on  30,000 hectares.

 

In 2006 as part of an EU sugar industry reform Ireland was offered a compensation package which precluded us from producing sugar until 2015. If this quota system is abolished in 2016, the barrier to re-entering the industry and producing sugar again in Ireland will be removed and the opportunity to commercialise this project will become a reality.

 

It is proposed that the investment of €400 million will be funded by growers, investors and bank finance. Grower contracts are planned in units of 400 tonnes with each contract representing a €25k grower investment to purchase the supply quota. This proposed business model places farmers in a strategic position where they will not only supply sugar beet but will also become stakeholders in the facility which would give farmers as well as investors a share in its success.

 

Speaking at the launch, Carlow Fine Gael TD Pat Deering said “this is another positive step towards getting our sugar industry back in Ireland, I believe and have said this for many years that the industry should never have been allowed to leave Ireland. This is a very comprehensive report, well thought through and they seem to have covered all angles. A viable sugar industry has a lot to offer – 250 direct jobs and many more indirect, it will offer farmers the opportunity to invest in the industry and to have a say in it’s future, which they didn’t have previously, the can return to growing this very profitable crop, it is of enormous benefit to tillage farmers for rotational cereal crops with follow on yield improvements, and of course it would totally replace the current importation of sugar, and wouldn’t we all like to be using Irish Sugar again. I know that the Carlow Enterprise Board are also working on a study which should be launched within the next few weeks, we can’t go to Brussels with two proposals, so we may join up our thinking, get the best from both reports and fight our case in the strongest way possible to get the sugar industry back in Ireland and hopefully back in Carlow”.