The Future is Equal

Sugar rush: Land rights and the supply chains of the biggest food and beverage companies

This paper sets out how one crop – sugar – has been driving large-scale land acquisitions and land conflicts at the expense of small-scale food producers and their families. At least 4m hectares of land have been acquired for sugar production in 100 large-scale land deals since 2000, although given the lack of transparency around such deals, the area is likely to be much greater. In some cases, these acquisitions have been linked to human rights violations, loss of livelihoods, and hunger for small-scale food producers and their families. Major food and beverage companies rarely own land, but they depend on it for the crops they buy, including sugar. These companies must urgently recognise this problem, and take steps to ensure that land rights violations and conflicts are not part of their supply chains.