Demand for organic sugar from regional sugar beet has been rising steadily for many years. Nordzucker is responding to this trend and has taken steps to conclude contracts for the first organic sugar beet in 2017, and to market the first volumes of organic beet sugar in 2018. The company believes that the greatest potential and the best conditions for organic beet cultivation can be found in Germany and Denmark.
Underlying conditions for cultivation
The growing of organic beet is governed by strict conditions. First of all, any interested grower needs EU organic certification or, alternatively, a higher standard. Only organically propagated, untreated seeds are permissible, and the fertilizer has to comply with the guidelines for organic farming. As the use of pesticides is prohibited, mechanical weed control constitutes a particular problem for organic farmers. Harvesting organic beet is the responsibility of the farmers concerned.
Nordzucker will use the same systems and instruments to record future organic beet as it uses for its conventional equivalent. Just like with conventional beet, the ordering of seeds has to be handled by the Nordzucker in-house AgriPortal platform.
Excellent prospects for organic beet cultivation
The offer made by Nordzucker has thus far been extremely well received. At industry conventions and in personal consultations, the company is currently outlining the terms in detail to interested farmers in Germany and Denmark. The farmers are particularly keen on the flexibility and long-term prospects offered by Nordzucker on the basis of one- and multi-year agreements. The first volumes may well be under contract for the next growing year. Nordzucker will organize and pay for the loading, cleaning and transport of the beet.
Dr Lars Gorissen, Chief Agricultural Officer, is confident that substantial volumes will soon be achieved: “Organic beet cultivation is an attractive option when compared directly with competing crops. The overall package offered by Nordzucker pays due regard to the additional expenditure associated with organic cultivation, and the multi-year agreements offer long-term prospects beyond 2017.”