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Commission tries to pull EU farmer's sweet tooth

brussels bureau

Commission tries to pull EU farmer's sweet tooth


European sugar beet growers marched in Brussels on Monday to protest at plans to cut their subsidies. Beet with feet added humour to the protest, but for many farmers subsidies slashed from 42 euros a ton to 25 by the end of the decade tastes too bitter. The European Commission’s reforms offer compensation for lost revenue of 60 percent to those who beat a retreat from production, but it could have dramatic repercussions on nearly half a million jobs. Only four EU countries do not grow sugar beet, and in Poland nearly 90 000 farmers rely on it. Who will benefit? Mainly big Brazilian growers and international traders claims the farmers’ lobby, which adds the price cuts will also hurt African, Caribbean, and Pacific producers who currently benefit from Europe’s 40-year old rules. Much sweet-talking may be needed to persuade producers the reforms will not lead to a flood of cheap sugar from Brazil, and Europe’s losing a lump of the sugar market.

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