A second initiative has been launched to encourage more young growers to get involved in the UK sugar beet industry.

NFU Sugar, in partnership with British Sugar, has launched its second Sugar Industry Programme.

In its second year, the programme is designed to work with younger growers through a training and development programme, which aims to increase engagement with young people and the sugar industry.

NFU Sugar board chairman William Martin, who represents all 4,000 beet growers in the UK, said: "The aim of the programme is to give younger growers a real and valuable experience of the work of both organisations and take home some new skills in the process.

"The programme ran in 2011 and was hugely successful, receiving huge praise and plaudits from participants and those involved."

Doncaster farmer James Durdy, who took part in last year's inaugural initiative, said it gave him a more thorough understanding of the sugar industry, policy and decision-making process.

"I would urge anyone who gets the chance to go to Westminster and Brussels to see what is achieved on our behalf," he said.

"It was evident that there is more that farmers can do to support the lobbying work that goes on, with a little guidance from the NFU."

Sixteen new participants will take part in the programme, spread over individual days between February and May this year.

It will cover policy, sugar processing, seed breeding, research and lobbying, as well as training.

The schedule consists of a tour and briefings at the British Sugar Wissington factory and co-refinery, work and lobbying in Westminster and Brussels, visits to the House of Commons and the European Parliament, a research trip to Broom's Barn, skills training and NFU policy briefings.

Employing 13,000 people throughout the economy, the UK sugar beet industry makes an annual economic contribution of around £800m.

The industry supplies more than half the UK's sugar requirements, plus a wide range of co-products. It also exports 110MW of electricity, equivalent to a medium-sized power station.

source: bloomberg


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