Transition of food systems


January 1st 2021

The sugarbeet sector in the Walloon Region: Current situation and scenarios for 2050

What are the main production models for sugar beet in Wallonia today? How is the sector organised? What developments can be envisaged, and with what consequences in terms of production and pesticide use?


The sugar beet sector is facing major challenges that undermine the economic stability of its players, therefore impacting the sustainability of the sector.

In a post-quota context already fragilized by the decline of  sugar prices on a highly fluctuating global market, the current debates surrounding the authorisation of neonicotinoids bring additionnal pressure on sugar beet producers.

Faced with this situation, it seems relevant to objectify the benefits, costs and risks associated with the use of these substances, as well as to identify the potential for the development of  alternatives viable for all stakeholders.

Carried out at the request of the Walloon Region, the present project concerns the elaboration of an inventory of production methods in the sugar beet sector in the Walloon Region and the elaboration of future scenarios based on the current situation. In particular, the study proposes to evaluate the relevance and feasibility of developing a sugar beet sector based on more sustainable systems, and to identify the levers that favour the development of such agricultural production methods.

The study, which will be carried out in 2021-2022, has 4 objectives

  1. Map the production methods and characterise the sugar beet sector in Wallonia;
  2. Develop scenarios about the trend orientation, as well as the transition trajectories taken by the sector and the consequences in 2050;
  3. Evaluate the current levels of neonicotinoid use, and objectify the benefits, costs and risks associated with their use;
  4. Identify the barriers, obstacles and levers to the development of a less input-intensive sector, particularly in the face of the end of neonicotinoid use.

This study will be conducted in an iterative and participatory manner. It will be based on the literature, available statistical data, and the knowledge of experts in the sector provided during individual interviews and focus group discussions.