Bloomberg News

France, Largest Sugar-Beet Grower, Says EU Must Keep Sugar Quota

October 20, 2011

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- France, the world’s largest sugar- beet grower, called for the European Union to maintain limits on sugar production that the bloc has proposed abolishing in 2015.

French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire and Hungarian Minister of Rural Development Sandor Fazekas agreed at a meeting today that the EU must keep mechanisms to control production in the face of “growing volatility” of agricultural prices, the French Agriculture Ministry said in an e-mailed statement.

The European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s regulatory arm, on Oct. 12 proposed to end limits on domestic sugar output as part of the EU’s future agriculture policy. The EU now caps how much sugar can be produced for its domestic market, and sets a minimum price that refiners must pay farmers for beets.

“The existing regulatory mechanisms for production volumes, such as planting rights for the wine sector or sugar quotas, having proven their effectiveness, should be maintained,” the ministry said in a statement that it said reflects a joint position by France and Hungary.

The countries also called for a “stronger” Common Agricultural Policy, with a budget that is maintained “at least” at the existing level, according to the statement.

France’s sugar production is forecast to climb to 4.73 million metric tons in the year through September 2012 from 4.26 million tons the previous year, the EU estimates. France is the largest sugar beet grower, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.

--Editors: Claudia Carpenter, Rudy Ruitenberg

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net


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