The Challenge to Cane Sugar in the 1980's

The Challenge to Cane Sugar in the 1980's

Report of a Seminar held at the Commonwealth Institute, London, 26–29 April 1983 You do not have access to this content

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Commonwealth Secretariat
01 Apr 1983
9781848593657 (PDF)
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  • Foreword

    The importance of cane sugar to the economies of a large number of Commonwealth countries who are members of the Lomé Convention, the continuing significant role played by Commonwealth sugar producers in supplying the United Kingdom market and the interdependence between cane growers in these countries and workers in the United Kingdom cane refining industry make sugar a commodity of special interest to the Commonwealth. Any disturbance either to the present ACP supply arrangements or to the size of the United Kingdom refining capacity would damage the chain linking growers and users and could do substantial harm to many Commonwealth economies.

  • Opening Statement

    I was indeed very pleased when your Organising Committee invited me to open this important and unique Seminar which as you know, was so thoughtfully suggested by British Trade Unionists working in the cane sugar refining industry.

  • Cane Sugar in the ACP Countries - Economic Problems

    For many ACP countries their economic problems begin with the weather. Frequently it affects production targets. Drainage and irrigation schemes cost money, but to a greater or lesser degree ACP countries are realising their importance.

  • Cane Sugar in the ACP Countries - Social Problems

    First, I would like to deal with the cane sugar industry's need to mechanise and modernise and the associated desperate problems of unemployment and underemployment. Sugar is often the largest employer in many of our countries, but today a large work force means high labour costs and an industry gradually going out of business. Yet a recent report on our agriculture in Guyana by the International Fund for Agricultural Development concluded that because of high unemployment and foreign exchange problems at the very least any further mechanisation should be discouraged at the present time.

  • Cane Sugar and the British Voluntary Organisations

    First, I should like to explain what an organisation like WDM does. Since the Second World War there have been a number of voluntary organisations in Europe which are financed principally by contributions from the public, and depend also upon voluntary help from the public, not only in their headquarters, but also in towns and villages throughout the country. We have 12 or 14 major organisations in Britain which are specifically working on development issues.

  • ACP Sugar and the World Market

    I feel like a football commentator being asked five days before the cup final to discuss the game and comment on the result. To-day is Wednesday and next Monday all producing and consuming nations of the world will assemble in Geneva to try and devise the best possible means of regulating the world sugar market.

  • The Sugar Protocol of the Lome Convention

    It is important for me to begin with the historical origins of the Sugar Protocol. It is the child of Protocol 22 of the United Kingdom's Treaty of Accession to the EEC. As a condition of Britain's entry, the Community agreed to take to heart - the famous ‘aura a coeur’ statement - the interests of those developing countries which had special links with the EEC and whose economies depended on agriculture, particularly sugar.

  • The European Commission and ACP Sugar

    I would like to say a few words about the way in which the Commission sees its role in relation to the Sugar Protocol and the annual ACP price negotiations. We consider that we have an obligation to represent all Community interests in these matters and not only the Community's own producers.

  • The ACP Sugar Group in Brussels

    Yesterday I had the opportunity to listen to Mr.Fryer when he spoke of the contribution of NGOs to the dialogue between North and South and he referred particularly to the sugar problem. He highlighted the possibilities of further rapprochement in the positions of the beet sector and sugar cane sector and he insisted on the need to avoid confrontations.

  • The UK Beet Sugar Industry

    I would like to divide my talk into several parts - first, to give some history and background to British Sugar and the industry in general, then to review the present situation as a member of the EEC and, finally, to say something about the crop itself, how we have progressed as an industry and what we are currently doing.

  • ACP Cane Sugar Refining

    Some idea of the complexity of the process of converting raw sugar into marketable refined products can be gained by studying the process and chemical control system employed at Thames Refinery which is illustrated in Appendix I. The operation at Westburn Refinery in Scotland is similar but on a smaller scale. This is by no means the complete picture, for linked to the two refineries are two speciality liquid blending stations where some eighty different liquid blends, syrups, treacles and speciality products are made for the retail and industrial sectors.

  • ACP Sugar - the London End

    When Bernard Boullé gave his illuminating address, he said he felt like a football commentator asked to speak about a game which had not yet taken place. I am in rather a different position because on this last day of the seminar so much has been said. I am asked to comment on a game of which the audience knows the result.

  • Cane Sugar and the Trade Union in Britain

    The best place to start is at the beginning. Back in 1971 we picked up in the local press that there were suggestions of excluding ACP sugar from Britain and as a result, 3,000 jobs would be in jeopardy. The trade union within the refinery approached the management which was uncertain, so we made it clear that within our industry we were not going to sit on our backsides and let things happen.

  • Competition and Marketing

    The Sugar Protocol is designed to facilitate commercial trade between sugar producers in the ACP countries and sugar users in the EEC. It recognises the need for cane sugar in the developed countries and provides a framework to satisfy this need to the mutual advantage of both producers and users. It is not a form of aid, but the recognition of a commercial demand for cane sugar in the EEC to be met by longstanding trading partners.

  • Summing Up of the Seminar

    I am not here in any sense as an expert. I am here very much as an interested but sympathetic layman and I hope my concluding remarks will reflect this.

  • Editorial Note

    A widely varied and stimulating discussion took place during the 4 days of the seminar. This is too long to publish in this report.

  • The Importance Of Sugar In The Economies Of Acp Countries
  • Seminar Organising Committee
  • Seminar Participants
  • Programme
  • Press Communique

    Proposed by trade unionists working in the British cane sugar industry, the four day Seminar on "The Challenge to Cane Sugar in the 1980's", which was opened by the Prime Minister of Fiji at the Commonwealth Institute on 26th April, brought together representatives from Britain and from the four corners of the cane sugar industry - governments, industrial management, trade unions, and cane farmers - from 10 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries which supply cane sugar to the EEC - the bulk of which comes to the United Kingdom. The participating countries were Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Guyana, Jamaica, Mauritius, St, Kitts, Swaziland, Trinidad and Tobago and Zimbabwe.

  • Acknowledgements
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