International food, ingredients and retail group Associated British Foods (ABF) has announced a deal with the China-based Hebei Tian Lu Sugar Group in a move to boost sugar beet yields.

The formation of the joint venture, to be called Bo Tian, is awaiting the approval of the Chinese government expected at the end of September.

ABF will hold 51% of the joint venture and Tian Lu will hold the remaining 49%. The Chinese sugar beet industry is based in the north east of the country, which has high-quality arable land with ideal weather conditions for producing high sugar content in beet.

"A significant increase in sugar production is planned. There is an opportunity to improve yields by applying British Sugar’s European beet sugar expertise through better agricultural practices and technology transfer," said ABF.