LH Mikl-Leitner emphasized “working together” to save the sugar factory
The continued operation of the Agrana plant in Leopoldsdorf is now secured until 2021. This was announced by the Agrana Beteiligungs-AG Supervisory Board. Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner and Federal Minister Elisabeth Köstinger shared with representatives of Agrana Beteiligungs-AG and Ernst Karpfinger, President of the Austrian beet farmers, informed about the pact to save domestic sugar in a press conference.
“Today is a very important day for the whole of agriculture,” said Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner, who added: “Right now there is a lot of talk about wishes and packages. Today the wish is real that the Leopoldsdorf sugar factory will continue to exist. ”That is only possible because there is a mutual cooperation. Securing the Leopoldsdorf sugar factory is a clear commitment to agriculture, farmers, local food production and security of supply in the state, said the governor.
The alliance to save the sugar includes, on the one hand, a re-cultivation bonus, the increase in cultivation areas to more than 38,000 hectares and the safeguarding of the Leopoldsdorf site. “Those who stand by our farmers must ensure that the framework conditions are right. We do that and with it we make successful agriculture possible ”, underlined Mikl-Leitner. When she thinks of the Corona crisis, one sees above all “the great importance of local products and that awareness of local food has increased. We still want domestic sugar and no sugar imports ”; said Governor Mikl-Leitner. She is pleased that the factory has been able to continue to exist, because not only has more than 150 jobs been secured, but the livelihoods of more than 150 families have been saved.
For Federal Minister Elisabeth Köstinger today, “Austria’s sugar supply by local farmers succeeded in a single effort.” Especially since beet production has deteriorated in the past – on the one hand as a result of climate change and on the other hand due to pests. “Together we have succeeded in putting together the pact to save domestic sugar. In a joint effort, we have increased the beet growing area back to over 38,000 hectares. The farms have thus laid the foundation for maintaining the location in Leopoldsdorf. Together with this success we not only stabilize beet cultivation in Austria, but also make an important contribution to securing our own sugar supply. ”
Erwin Hameseder, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Agrana Beteiligungs-AG, said he was happy that the path to politics has paid off: “Today’s decision shows what can be achieved when business and political leaders work together. Together we managed to preserve valuable jobs and domestic added value. In particular due to the increase in sugar beet area for cultivation in 2021, today’s decision by the Supervisory Board to continue the Leopoldsdorf sugar factory is very good news. ”
The CEO of Agrana-Beteiligungs-AG, Johann Marihart, added: “We are pleased that we were able to contract the beet cultivation area of more than 38,000 hectares with the beet farmers at this early stage in order to utilize the two Austrian sugar factories. There are not many crops where there is a guaranteed price, guaranteed purchase and failure protection. ”
The President of the Austrian Beet Growers, Ernst Karpfinger, said he was relieved by the decision of the Supervisory Board: “Special thanks go to the politicians who, with the agreed pact, give the farmers a guarantee to support them financially in the event of a necessary re-cultivation after pest infestation and to promote plant protection confesses. I am proud of our members, because through their increased willingness to cultivate, they have proven the cohesion of the cooperative in difficult times. ”
LH deputy Stephan Pernkopf is also happy about the positive outcome of the negotiations: “Lower Austria’s farmers are thus saving Viennese sugar and the jobs in the Marchfeld factory, which is a huge achievement for the whole country and for self-sufficiency with local food.”
The President of the Lower Austrian Chamber of Agriculture, Johannes Schmuckenschlager, emphasized: “Plant protection is an important tool. Approval and availability of effective pesticides is required to secure Austrian production and thus ensure the supply of high-quality domestic sugar. I would like to thank the Federal Government for their clear commitment to comprehensive crop protection in arable farming. ”
Agrana works council chairman Thomas Buder was just as pleased and finally made an appeal to the economy and consumers not only to look at the price, but to prefer local products.
Source: Province of Lower Austria