Letter from the Department of Environment, Food
and Rural Affairs to the Clerk of the Committee
Proposal for the Regulatory Reform (Sugar Beet
Research and Education) Order
Thank you for your letter of 26 July. We note the
concern of the Committee about smaller growers who may not be
members of the NFU, but believe we can offer reassurances on this
The NFU is consulted by Ministers on the sugar beet
research programme under the current arrangements because they
are recognised under section 17 of the Sugar Act 1956 as being
substantially representative of the growers of sugar beet
in the United Kingdom pursuant to section 7(3) of the European
Communities Act 1972.
Processors and growers of sugar beet in the EU are
required to enter into an agreement (in the UK known as the Inter-Professional
Agreement or IPA) setting out the contract between them. In the
UK the IPA is between British Sugar as the sole processor and
the NFU who undertake "to act as......
the agent of each of the growers". This includes growers
who are not members of the NFU (fewer than 20% of UK sugar
beet growers are not members of the NFU). Indeed, sugar beet growers
who are not members of the NFU are nevertheless represented by
the NFU in a number of ways, for example by the NFU presence in
each sugar beet factory (monitoring the sampling process when
lorries first arrive) in addition to representation at the British
Beet Research Organisation (BBRO).
Growers who are not members of the NFU can contact
either their local NFU Representative or British Sugar Area Manager
about the BBRO research programme. The local NFU or British Sugar
representative will in turn pass their comments on to the relevant
BBRO Board Member. Comments from all growers on the BBRO's
research programme are be welcomed by the board.
Information on the direction and progress of the
BBRO's research programme is passed to all growers irrespective
of NFU membership or the size of their contract with British Sugar.
Equally all are invited to attend British Sugar's regular meetings
on technology transfer and new developments in the industry.
7 August 2002