Your sweet tooth is displacing impoverished Brazilians, Cambodians and Africans


By 2020, the world will consume 25% more sugar than it does now. Where will it come from? At the moment, the biggest exporters of sugar are Brazil, Thailand, Australia and Guatemala. But that’s changing. Sugar cane uses more land than almost any other major agricultural commodity, which is fueling demand for more land. Of the 31 million hectares—about the size of Italy—currently used to produce sugar, around 15% (pdf, p.4) involves land purchased in 100 major deals inked since 2000, says Oxfam, a non-governmental organization. Often, these land sales are to foreign investors:

With land growing scarcer in big sugar-producing countries, agricultural companies are increasingly looking to poor countries with a lot of land and flimsy property laws, notes Oxfam’s Chris Jochnick. “As pressure on the land is growing, inevitably you’re going to have more competition for the land and more land grabs,” he says, referring to large-scale land sales…

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