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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Sugar Research and Innovation Programme

ACP countries could be affected when EU sugar quotas end. A fund for scientists in these nations aims to offset this impact in boosting sugar production and finding new sugar cane-based products. Up to US$20 million is available for research on sugar to ACP scientists on order to ensure the viability of their sugar industries.
The Sugar Research and Innovation Programme, which is accepting grant proposals until the end of this month, tries to offset some of the potential economic losses posed to smaller sugar exporters. These losses are expected because of the end of EU sugar quotas in 2017 and the rise of big producers such as Brazil. The ACP has firmly opposed the EU’s decision to end sugar quotas,  a system that establishes how much sugar each of the 19 European producer countries can produce each year and what they can do with the surplus.
ACP countries fear that this change will lower sugar prices and that the ensuing market volatility will harm their small producers and give a competitive advantage to bigger producers such as Brazil. It also appears that the cap on EU sugar production will be lifted, turning Europe from a net importer to a net exporter.
The sugar research programme’s aims to mitigate against these effects by funding research into more productive sugar crops and into new, potentially more lucrative products that can be made from sugar cane.
ACP called last month for project proposals as part of the second phase of the research programme (the first phase funded 16 project in 2012 and 2013). The initiative is due to fund 13 projects during 2014 and 2015. The programme’s joint budget of around €11.7 million (nearly US$19.6 million) mostly comes from the EU, but also from Australian Aid, the United States and the ACP countries themselves.
Source: SciDev.Net