Bitter sweet

Published: Saturday 15 January 2005

Oxfam Letter uk
British Sugar made a colossal 175 million (us $340 million ) profit this year. But things have turned very sour for this uk -based sugar giant. Oxfam has released a damning report exposing the company's ethically dubious business strategies. The international non-governmental organisation claims that British Sugar makes such big bucks because it operates in a position of near monopoly, and because British taxpayers and consumers have to pay out blindly because of eu's Common Agricultural Policy.

As part of their make trade fair appeal, Oxfam has launched a letter campaign calling for the reform of eu sugar rules, and for an end to the pitiless ostracisation of African sugar farmers from European markets. While tonnes of European sugar are dumped every year, African farmers, unable to compete with subsidised European prices, are struggling for survival.

Anna Macdonald, Oxfam's campaigns director, said "British Sugar is resisting changes that would help poor people to trade their way out of poverty . " For millions of African farmers, survival hangs on the outcome of impending reforms to European sugar rules. Alfredo Jorge Sitoe -- a supervisor in cane fields in Xinavane, Mozambique -- gives a voice to the plight of the farmers: "Sugar is very important to me and my family." "Without it we would have nothing," he laments.

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