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After a ten-year ban Slovenian farmers will once again be able to sow sugar beets on their fields. Foto: Reuters

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Sugar beets to be grown in Slovenia again

The entire produce to go to a Croatian company
17. February 2017 ob 10:32
Spodnje Podravje - - MMC RTV SLO

After a ten-year ban Slovenian farmers will once again be able to sow sugar beets on their fields. European sugar quotas will be removed this autumn. This year sugar beets are to be planted on nearly 100 hectares of land.

Mirko Kosi, the president of the Kooperativa Kristal cooperative, which brings together growers of the crop, confirms that farmers will start growing sugar beets this planting season. All the beets that will grow on Slovenia's soil will end up in the Viro sugar processing plant in Virovitica.

"We'll start off with around 100 hectares. We know that ten years have passed and some farms have been restructured. Some will probably wait a bit and speculate," said Kosi.

The Croatian company is ready to buy much more produce than what's planned to be grown on Slovenia's fields, but the farmers have opted for gradual growth. The contract they have with the Croatian company is for one year only.

Slovenia's Ministry of Agriculture supports the farmers' decision. "My personal opinion is that they have approached the matter in a very smart way and will start producing again in a gradual manner. The contract with the factory, not in Slovenia, will enable the gradual return of production and that's surely a good thing," stated Tanja Strniša, the ministry's State Secretary.

The farmers' wish is to gradually increase the size of surface used for production, which will then justify the building of a plant for processing sugar beets in Slovenia.

Economically feasible
Farmers will get around 36 euros per tonne of sugar beets from the Viro sugar processing plant. The Croatian company will transport the produce from the fields to its factory on its own. Črtomir Rozman from Maribor's Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences agrees that the deal is economically feasible for the farmers. "On the assumption that the produce, which is predicted to be comparable to other produce in Europe, has a sufficient concentration of sugar, we can of course expect the production to be economically feasible," said Mr. Rozman.

In the past 2.400 Slovenian farmers showed interest to start growing sugar beets again. Together they could start growing sugar beets on a joint surface of around 8.500 hectares.