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Soft drink demand behind land grabs: Oxfam

Communities in third world nations are being evicted from their land by sugar growers who supply food and drink giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, charity group Oxfam claims.


And the industry leaders are not doing enough to stop the land grabs, the international non-governmental organisation says.

A new report released on Wednesday pinpoints examples of land grabs and disputes between local populations and suppliers in countries such as Brazil and Cambodia.

The report, Nothing sweet about it: How sugar fuels land grabs, links the suppliers to some of the world’s biggest multinational companies, including Coca-Cola.

In one example, Oxfam believes it has evidence that a fishing community in Brazil is fighting for access to their land and fishing grounds after being kicked out in 1988 by a sugar mill.

Oxfam claims another 200 families in Cambodia are fighting for land they were evicted from in 2006 to make way for a sugar plantation, which supplies a company that sells sugar to Coca-Cola and PepsiCo’s manufacturers.

Oxfam Australia acting public policy manager Kelly Dent said it had gone largely unnoticed the $50 billion a year sugar trade was fuelling the land grab issue.

“Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Associated British Foods are the worlds biggest producers and buyers of sugar, but they are doing little to ensure the sugar in their products is not grown on land grabbed from poor communities,” she said.

“We are calling on them to join us in demanding that Coke, Pepsi and Associated British Foods act now to stamp out land grabs.

“If they act, they could transform the industry.”

Oxfam says global sugar production is forecasted to increase by 25 per cent by 2020.

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