b'COMPETING WITH A BALL AND CHAIN AROUND YOUR FEETSUGAR: A EUROPEAN RICHNESS WE MUST PROTECT. BY: MARIE-CHRISTINE RIBERAT he European Association of Sugar Manufacturers (or CEFS, its French acronym standing for Comit Europen des Fabricants de Sucre) is a non-profit organisation founded in 1953 to represent the interests of the European sugar indus-try, visvis international institutions with a view to creating a positive regulatory climate for our sector in all its dimensions: production, competitiveness, nutrition and food legislation. In addition, we are an interlocutor recognized by the European Commission and we participate, along with others, in the civil dialogue groups. We are also the European branch of Sugarmark, the quality brand for real sugar, known as sucrose. THE CHALLENGESOur sector, part of a chain that includes sugar beet growers, faces many challenges. The first is agricultural. The Common Agricultural Policy does not get good press. Farmers are con-fronted with consistent reductions in subsidies and major con-straints on the use of inputs: new restrictions on seed varieties, limitations on plant protection products, obstacles to irri-gation, etc. As an industry, we have to deal with abolition of quotas, opening of the EU market to third country imports and decreased world market prices. Prices recently began to increase again, but disturbances linked to Coronavirus crisis are creating the conditions for another fall, perhaps long-lasting. At CEFS, our bottom line is preserving and even improving our global competitiveness in a very challenging environment. SUSTAINABLE SUGAR PRODUCTIONIn close co-operation with beet growers, we have always been working towards making our production sustainable. With EFFAT, which represents trade union workers in the food sector, and CIBE, representing beet growers, we have set up a platform called the EU Beet Sugar Sustainability Partnership (EUBSSP),Marie-Christine Riberawhich disseminates and promotes good behavioural and industrial practices. In our view, sustainability is vitalas the European Green Deal strongly affirmsbut we are for modern sustainabil- It is important to note that coated seeds are potentially ity, a new-generation sustainability involving new technologies,under threat from future EU legislation and we believe that the research on new varieties and innovation in general.seed sector has neither assessed nor anticipated this risk suffi-ciently. Drastic limitations on coated seeds would be a catastro-PRESERVING COATED SEEDS phe for our sector. Research by the sugar beet sector is constant, in particular viaAs of now, the constraints I have mentioned are bearing a our 11 research institutes based in various EU countries, but alsohigh price for beet growers who estimate it at 100 per hectare. via our sugar enterprises and co-operatives, and in our partner- This is a significant amount that endangers beet growing in cer-ship agreements with input and seed producers. Increasing thetain regions. These constraints translate to both a decrease in sugar content of beets is certainly a priority, but it is not the onlyrevenue (as they damage yields) and an increase in costs, since one. Resistance to water stress is another one. So is the qualitythe substitute treatments (if they exist) are either more expen-of coated seeds.sive, more demanding in terms of time spent, or even both. 10IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'