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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/26128

Title: The Flemish sugar beet sector: a systems thinking perspective
Authors: Biely, Katharina
Maes, Dries
Van Passel, Steven
Issue Date: 2017
Citation: 6th Associazione Italiana di Economia Agraria e Applicata (AIEAA) conference, Piacenza, Italy, 15-16/06/2017
Abstract: In 2017 the quota system, that has regulated the European sugar beet production since 1968, will terminate. Thus, for almost 50 years farmers within the European Union were guaranteed a minimum prize, making the cultivation of sugar beet a reliable source of income. With the quota system phasing out this situation is going to change. Sugar beet prices, as well as the sugar amount demanded will increasingly depend on the global market situation. Flemish sugar beet farmers fear the milk scenario to repeat in the European sugar sector. Since many farmers only have limited attractive alternatives to sugar beet cultivation in Flanders, a drop in sugar beet prices would call farmers to strike new paths. Sugar beet is a crop employed to improve soil quality. Thus the termination of the quota does not only bring questions about economic viability but also about environmental sustainability to the fore. However, it is uncertain how the situation for Flemish sugar beet farmers will develop. In this paper we analyze the current situation of Flemish sugar beet farmers based on literature research, as well as interviews and focus groups with farmers employing systems thinking. As only two sugar refineries process sugar within Belgium we particularly focused on market power problems arising from market liberalization. Systems thinking allowed us to get a holistic view on the situation and identifying the dynamics underlying the whole system. This method, subsequently, permitted forecasting potential reactions of the system to the quota termination.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/26128
Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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