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Happy New Year! Not a very exciting news month, presumably the usual holiday lethargy. Still no news on the sale of BT to TSB. The sugar price did go back over 9 ¢/lb though so maybe 2005 will bring some prosperity.
NEW IBERIA CLOSES
The 2004 crop was not a good one for Louisiana – not enough cane and poor quality too : mills were crushing 75 purity cane in September – and it has brought the New Iberia co-operative factory to the end of its days. There is also talk of other factories closing in the near to medium term.
Florida Crystals is being hit by strikes on two fronts : at its Okeelanta cane factory and at its Yonkers refinery. The strike at Okeelanta is a surprise as it is generally a peaceful plant. The company is currently negotiating a new contract with its workers and, with shrinking quotas from the USDA, it has to make economies.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] has secured funding from Germany to start the rehabilitation Afghanistan’s only beet project at Baghlan. However the funding is only worth about $4 million so it is unclear what will be possible. What will almost certainly not be possible will be to divert farmers from growing opium poppies, a stated aim of the project.
EU TO APPEAL WTO RULING IN JANUARY
Following its statement that it would appeal the WTO ruling [see November’s News], the EU has been given an extension to the 60 day appeal period. It will lodge its appeal on January 13 this year. The EU’s new Agriculture Commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel, has said that she would decide on the final form of the proposed sugar regime reform package once the appeal has been considered.
BS WISSINGTON TO HAVE DISTILLERY
British Sugar is planning a fuel ethanol plant at its Wissington factory. The capacity appears to be about 70 million litres per annum but it is unclear whether the plant will run throughout the year or just during the beet campaign.
Iran seems to be starting on another five year plan for sugar with a further six factories planned. The factories are planned for both Khuzestan in the south and West Azarbaijan on the Turkish border so both cane and beet must be involved.