Greenpeace are twats, obviously

The government move has provoked fury from British farmers, who say it is “offshoring legitimate environmental concerns” by forcing them to compete with sugarcane grown to lower environmental standards than the UK’s.

The UK’s standards for growing sugar cane don’t exist. given that, you know, we don’t grow any.

42 thoughts on “Greenpeace are twats, obviously”

  1. Yeah but if the Greenies are right it’d soon be hot enough here to grow sugar cane domestically anyway.

  2. ‘ Tate & Lyle Sugars (T&L) stands to be the sole beneficiary of a government decision to allow tariff-free imports of up to 260,000 tonnes of raw cane sugar next year…’

    The ‘sole’ beneficiary? T&L may benefit from increased sales and increased earnings, but consumers who will pay less for sugar and/or things containing sugar will be beneficiaries too.

  3. Sugarcane v sugarbeet.
    Surely they should raise not abolish the tariff, and tax the farmers. Sugar is a cause of heart disease, obesity, death from Covid19, paralysis of the NHS etc. And tastes quite nice so obviously a Bad Thing.

  4. ‘T&L aims to increase imports from major cane producers like Brazil and Australia, which allow intensive use of hazardous and bee-killing pesticides that are banned in the UK.’

    You make stupid environmental laws, then cry when your business goes elsewhere. This times a million.

    The solution isn’t tariffs. The solution is to stop with the stupid laws. Deregulation. Maybe you’ll get some when you are out of the EU.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    ‘T&L aims to increase imports from major cane producers like Brazil and Australia, which allow intensive use of hazardous and bee-killing pesticides that are banned in the UK.’

    Well Brazil has those African Killer Bees so maybe that is not bad thing. Has Greenpeace thought of that?

  6. Does UK grow much sugar beet?

    Plenty to curse Blojob’s gang for without looking for artificial issues.

  7. @ Mr Ecks
    Yes, but only because the CAP distorts competition. With free trade (or Commonwealth Preference) before we joined the EEC the UK produced a near-trivial amount as part of crop-rotation for some farms in Fenland/East Anglia as a strategic reserve in case blight hit sugarcane in the West Indies and Mauritius and Australia …
    Don’t blame Johnson, blame Heath.

  8. The main story is a LIE. The donation to the Conservatives was by Tate & Lyle plc. The beneficiary of opening the market to sugar imported from the Commonwealth is the company that bought Tate & Lyle’s refineries before Brexit crept over the horizon.
    Any smear will do – it doesn’t have to be within 5,000 miles of the truth if there’s a chance someone will believe it.

  9. Do Tate and Lyle produce sugar anymore? I thought they divested around 2012? Let’s not be more Murphyesque than we need to be

  10. This is the sugar company which was spun off. Owned by the Fanjuls now, a bigger set of rogues it is difficult to find.

  11. Dennis: Oppressor, Warmonger, Capitalist and Consumer of Petroleum Products

    Sugarcane v sugarbeet.

    Why is it unsurprising that Greenpeace doesn’t know the difference?

  12. If Greenpeace were really concerned for the ‘environment’ (rather than their unstated aim of overthrowing capitalism by any means necessary), they’d be in favour of sugar cane, which has a far smaller ‘footprint’ than beet. It could be that they’re just ignorant rather than malevolent, but their being both appears favourite.

  13. Well if it means there’s less of a sugar beet stench that can only be a good thing. I did get used to it though.

  14. “The ‘sole’ beneficiary? T&L may benefit from increased sales and increased earnings, but consumers who will pay less for sugar and/or things containing sugar will be beneficiaries too”

    I doubt it. Cheap commodity prices just benefit the large processors and retailers of food, its very rare that a drop in world commodity prices results in a drop in consumers prices, all the people in the chain just grab an extra bit of margin and shelf prices stay the same. Of course if world prices rise then the shop prices rise in step almost immediately. Food processing/retailing is a massive cartel, heads they win tails everyone else loses. Whether the sugar comes from beet from East Anglia or from cane from the West Indies, the producer will get the raw end of the deal, while the middle men make a killing.

  15. “its very rare that a drop in world commodity prices results in a drop in consumers prices”
    I must have missed that drop in the price of petrol to just below £1 a litre in May. And the nominal reduction in the price of fuel oil for NI consumers compared to 10 years ago must be an illusion.

  16. It didn’t happen in Herts, Bongo. I hope you are not making the Murphy error of extrapolating from your own experience. Petrol price per litre has not moved for 6 months here despite changes in the spot price at one location

  17. ‘Cheap commodity prices just benefit the large processors and retailers of food’

    Why so cynical, Jim?

    I believe margins aren’t very good up and down the food chain.

  18. So Much For Subtlety

    its very rare that a drop in world commodity prices results in a drop in consumers prices, all the people in the chain just grab an extra bit of margin and shelf prices stay the same.

    Really? In my neck of the woods, because of Global Warming, or the Corona Virus, or whatever, Boston lobsters have become noticeably cheaper over the last few years.

    I can’t be the only one with an interest.

  19. I got petrol at 98p for a few weeks in the spring, right here in Oxfordshire. /close enough to Herts that when the oil storage facility there caught fire we could smell it.

  20. What “environmental standards”? Sun + soil + rain = sugar (Bee killing Neos is a lie)

    Strange that despite EU tariffs Tate & Lyle make a profit by selling us imported cane sugar grown half world away

    Shouldn’t Greenpeace be deemed racist for endorsing more expensive UK sugar beet?

    @Gamecock
    +1 UK Supermarkets make a profit of 2-5%. Not ‘ripping off’ consumer

  21. @Diogenes, I live in north Herts and the local Tesco petrol station was selling the stuff for 99.9p per litre at the depths of the drop in economic activity and travel.

  22. Food processing/retailing is a massive cartel, heads they win tails everyone else loses.

    Citation required.

  23. We’re near Potters Bar and local Tesco was briefly at 99.9, over the weeks it has crept back up to 108.9 – but was over 120 before all this, so it’s still down quite a bit in comparison. The BP in Cockfosters was over 130, and dropped to around 110.

  24. “Why so cynical, Jim?”

    Because the price of farm outputs hasn’t gone up in 30 years (in nominal terms) yet the processors and retailers make increased profits every year, and prices rise in the shops consistently over time. I’ve lived it, thats why I’m a cynic.

  25. “I must have missed that drop in the price of petrol to just below £1 a litre in May. And the nominal reduction in the price of fuel oil for NI consumers compared to 10 years ago must be an illusion.”

    I’m talking about world food prices – grains, meat, milk that sort of thing. The market for them is fixed, between the massively competitive world marketplace and the cartel of large processors and retailers who control what prices the consumer in the UK has to pay. There’s a reason that Tesco alone make more profit than the entire UK farming industry (if you take out the effects of farm subsidies), and that reason is the market for food processing and retailing is an oligopoly, that makes huge profits as a result.

  26. @ Jim
    Er, the reason why Tesco makes such huge profits is economy of scale which enables it to sell stuff cheaper than the corner shop. Once they had achieved that they were able to bargain better terms out of their suppliers, but the latter is secondary.

  27. The worldwide consumer has massively benefited from the abolition of collective farms which has resulted in a food surplus despite an uninterrupted increase in the world’s population. There has not been a major famine (other than one due to war or civil war) since 2012. This should be a cause for general rejoicing.
    It does, however, have a downside for farmers who are selling into a buyer’s market and receive an inadequate return for their hard work.

  28. “Er, the reason why Tesco makes such huge profits is economy of scale which enables it to sell stuff cheaper than the corner shop. Once they had achieved that they were able to bargain better terms out of their suppliers, but the latter is secondary.”

    In other words they have if not monopoly power, market influence somewhat approaching it. They use their market share to beat down the suppliers, but only have to price so that they are cheaper than small corner shop retailers. And pocket the large chunk of cash in between the two.

  29. It’s a long time since any supermarkets were handed decent fines for price-fixing. 2011 I think, and some of that was for price-fixing back in 2002-3. Thank you Aldi and Lidl.
    Ah ha, you say, but it still goes on, but they’ve not been caught. Well there’s enough farmland owners who would like to see them caught if they were at it, that you’d expect something.

  30. Tesco had turnover of £65 billion, profits of a little above £2 billion. 3% of turnover is hardly monopolistic raking it in. 8 and 9% return on capital employed. That’s only just above the cost of capital.

    There’s not all that much evidence of market power there.

  31. “In other words they have if not monopoly power, market influence somewhat approaching it. They use their market share to beat down the suppliers, but only have to price so that they are cheaper than small corner shop retailers. And pocket the large chunk of cash in between the two.”

    Even if supermarkets didn’t do this, small shops would still lose because of the scale around everything else. You put all the goods into one giant area, have a few staff on an enquiries counter and a checkout girl doing everything that a grocer, baker, butcher and fishmonger once did, it’s cheaper (and quicker for the customer).

    I’m not even sure what’s wrong with it. If you buy a barrel of beer from a brewery, do you not expect a discount over a pint? We all “screw” suppliers. A garage sells me a car, I’m going to try and get that car for the lowest price I can. If I haven’t got him complaining about putting food on the table for the kids, I haven’t negotiated hard enough.

    Don’t like the deal, don’t do it. Go and do something else.

  32. “Tesco had turnover of £65 billion, profits of a little above £2 billion. 3% of turnover is hardly monopolistic raking it in. 8 and 9% return on capital employed. That’s only just above the cost of capital.”

    I’ll take an 8% return on capital every day of the year. That would make me about £800k profit per year, when in reality I make about 1%, and thats with farm subsidies. Without them I’d make half that. Why should Tesco be able to make such a far greater return on capital when the farmers who supply what they sell are screwed into the floor, so much so they need a subsidy to keep going? How is that not some form of cartel/monopoly in action? All the subsidy is doing is allowing Tesco et al to make even more profits. Better to force them to pay more for their inputs and make less profit, and pay no subsidy to the farmers at all. Every one wins, apart from Tesco shareholders of course, but they’ve been making out like bandits for decades due to unfair market power, so fuck them.

  33. @Jim August 10, 2020 at 9:54 am
    “the price of farm outputs hasn’t gone up in 30 years (in nominal terms)”

    Market working correctly then.

    The processors add vale to the raw material and by buying in bulk reduce your costs. You’d need more staff if selling loose potatoes to public

    I’ve given you example of Swanston Farm and add-value before – pre mid 90s they were wheat, pots, cows, sheep. Have you looked and considered?

    @Jim August 10, 2020 at 1:00 pm
    If Tesco are ‘pocketing the large chunk of cash’ why is their profit margin only ~2.5% ?
    Why did they make a massive loss a few years ago?

  34. So Much For Subtlety

    Jim August 10, 2020 at 6:13 pm – “I’ll take an 8% return on capital every day of the year. That would make me about £800k profit per year, when in reality I make about 1%, and thats with farm subsidies. Without them I’d make half that. Why should Tesco be able to make such a far greater return on capital when the farmers who supply what they sell are screwed into the floor, so much so they need a subsidy to keep going?”

    Because, as brutal as it is, no one wants to run a Tesco. Lots of people want to be Lord of the Manor. When Madonna buys a chunk of the countryside, she is buying into the idea that the English Upper Class need to own land. They do not need to own a supermarket.

    I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but the countryside has been utterly transformed by people taking packages or bonuses or their retirement funds and setting themselves up as “farmers”. I doubt if any of them make any money and the few remaining farmers laugh openly at them. Worse, it isn’t normal crops any more, it is all things like organic goat’s cheese, frost-hardened avocado and golden trout.

    It is a business that people want to do so badly you are lucky you don’t have to pay to do it.

  35. “I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but the countryside has been utterly transformed by people taking packages or bonuses or their retirement funds and setting themselves up as “farmers”.”

    In the gentrified parts of the south east, and some of the Cotswolds, maybe. The rest of the country (80%+) is still just mud and muck farming.

  36. SMFS,

    English wine is like this. Lots of people who made their money in the city putting money into vineyards. Bonkers considering how much harder it is to grow grapes in the UK than France, Germany or Romania.

  37. @SMFS
    +1 Jeremy Clarkson is another sleb ‘farmer’, he’s bought a tractor too. However, he admits it’s just for fun for him & mates

    @Jim
    Add value & Swanston ???

  38. So Much For Subtlety

    Jim August 11, 2020 at 9:39 am – “In the gentrified parts of the south east, and some of the Cotswolds, maybe. The rest of the country (80%+) is still just mud and muck farming.”

    Sure. But a traditional farmer in the south east, takes his £1.5 million he got for selling to some rap artist and buys a farm for £1 in the Midlands. That farmer takes that £1 million and buys the farm next to yours so yours is now worth £8K. It is a national market.

    The obvious place this happens is Scotland. Toffs want to buy wasteland to shoot grouse a lot more than peasant want to eke a totally marginal living from what used to be bogland. So the SNP wants to force it all back to farm land but not real farming. Toy town versions of Third World peasantry. Which they may do but it will last a generation until everyone sells out to the Toffs and the grouse are back

    Bloke on M4 August 11, 2020 at 10:10 am – “English wine is like this. Lots of people who made their money in the city putting money into vineyards. Bonkers considering how much harder it is to grow grapes in the UK than France, Germany or Romania.”

    The bit of the countryside I am most familiar with is exactly like this. Grape vines are slowly spreading over everything. OK. It may work. I think that British farmers can’t compete on wheat and beef with the likes of America, Australia, Brazil and Argentina. They have the space. So they have to produce something smarter from a smaller space. The Japanese know they cannot compete in beef on price. So they have Kobe beef. Smart move. British farmers need to do the same. Maybe wine is the solution. But mostly it looks like middle class wankery to me.

    Pcar August 11, 2020 at 8:50 pm – “Jeremy Clarkson is another sleb ‘farmer’, he’s bought a tractor too. However, he admits it’s just for fun for him & mates”

    Pushing up the value of land for everyone – and hence lowering Jim’s return on capital.

  39. @SMFS
    Kobe – yes, Swanston Farm now growing free range organic Aberdeen Angus – let loose on hillside then hunted

    Clarkson: mates visit and we hoon in around 4x4s shooting things then eat & drink
    I’ve suggested to Jim before that he sells similar entertainment when he said many fields left idle

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