Ely farmer meets MEP to discuss sugar beet reform

PUBLISHED: 14:31 26 March 2013 | UPDATED: 14:31 26 March 2013

European MEP Geoffrey Van Orden with councillors and farmers at Paradise Farm, Ely. MEP Geoffrey Van Orden and Farmer Trevor Bedford.

European MEP Geoffrey Van Orden with councillors and farmers at Paradise Farm, Ely. MEP Geoffrey Van Orden and Farmer Trevor Bedford.

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ELY sugar beet farmer Trevor Bedford met with Euro MEP Geoffrey Van Orden this week to discuss his concerns about reform to the Common Agricultural Policy.

Under new rules set in Strasbourg, the old quota system for sugar beet is to be scrapped and growers will be exposed to more competition from other farmers outside of Europe.

East Cambridgeshire farmers like Mr Bedford are concerned that the new rules would see the market saturated with cheap imports, leaving them unable to compete.

This week, however, MEPs including Mr Van Orden, voted to extend the quota system until 2019/20, to give local farmers time to prepare for the change and for increased competition.

Mr Van Orden said: “Sugar beet is a very important crop in the East of England in particular and feeds three sugar refineries in the region. We have ensured that our local sugar beet industry - the farmers and processors - are given reasonable time to phase out sugar quotas.”

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