The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

The Sugar Bill Will Taste Bitter

Sep 19, 2011

Manufacturers have just announced a 30 to 40% increase in the price of raw sugar for next October. So the prices of products using sugar are going to soar.

These big sugar companies blame climate conditions in the tropical zones, where most sugar cane is produced. Or perhaps it’s the result of a bad harvest in Brazil, which might cause a shortage of sugar.

But we are supposed to forget that most of Brazil’s sugar cane is diverted for use in biofuels. That’s what Oxfam, an organization fighting world hunger, has pointed out. Thanks to a rise in the price of oil, manufacturers of sugar cane can get more money from the energy sector than from use of their product in foods. The sordid law of the market therefore led to less sugar for use in food, more than a bad harvest did.

But that isn’t the only problem. Since the economic crash in 2008, speculation has made the price of basic foodstuffs soar. According to Oxfam, “the world price of foodstuffs is almost 40% higher than a year ago. The most striking example is the 14% increase in one month of the world price of sugar.”

So, it is the financial institutions of the main capitalist countries which, pouncing on food products like sugar, provoke the increase in the price and reap tremendous profits – to the detriment of the population of the world.