Beet Ireland to supply information on new plant at grower meetings

Beet Ireland will meet potential growers in the coming weeks and months. AgriLand spoke to Brian Arnold – one of the six directors of Beet Ireland – at the National Ploughing Championships, where the group had a stand.

In the short video below, Brian outlined the group’s plan to attend meetings of different farm organisations in the coming months. He also explained that farmers will be asked to invest in the industry and form part of a grower’s association.

“The next step is that we are actually going to be going out and talking to growers and grower organisations. We want to make sure that there is full commitment from growers to bring the sugar industry back to Ireland.

Over the next two months we are going to be having meetings.

That commitment from growers will come in the form of investment into the development of the industry.

Site in Co. Kildare

Beet Ireland secured a site for the new plant last year.

“Late last year we acquired a site in Co. Kildare, which we think is probably one of the best locations in the country for the future development of the sugar beet industry,” Brian explained.

The group were happy with the level of interest in the project at the ‘Ploughing’. It allowed different parts of the plan to be explained.

“The core element is sugar, bio-ethanol and from that you get your beet pulp. All these other things will be add-ons.”

The add-ons that Brian talked about were products like bio-plastics.

Absolutely every grain of sugar in Ireland is being imported. This is the last pillar that’s missing within Irish agriculture and within Irish agricultural policy.

Price

On the price that farmers can expect to receive for their produce, if they enter into the industry, Brian explained: “You’ve got to realise that sugar is a commodity like all other crops. When somebody asks: ‘What price are you going to pay for sugar beet?’ We say what price are you going to be paid for your cereals next year?

“It’s going to be up and down every year; but ultimately we’re looking at a situation here whereby growers will have equity within, so if there’s upstream benefits they will get the upstream benefits.”