Oxfam accuses Coke and Pepsi of taking land from the poor

English: Sugar cane plantation ready for harve...

English: Sugar cane plantation ready for harvest, São Paulo State, Brazil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1st October so I’m three-quarters of the way through the Janus project.  Fortunately the headlines of new news items still keep coming so I may make it to the end of the year after all.  Today’s offering started off as another story of oppression of poor communities by big multinationals but, with other recent headlines on the growing of cannabis, it suddenly occurred to me that sugar could be regarded as a drug as well – it can be addictive and has proven unhealthy side-effects, yet it is socially acceptable.  So that’s the twist to this tale of corporate oppression.


Sugar Hit

Sugar in the morning,
sugar in the evening,
sugar at supper-time.”
We all crave our sugar,
we crave it all the time.

We lace it in drinks like Pepsi and Coke
unaware of the joke
that what we’re consuming is legally ‘high’.
Forget cocaine and all that shit,
we all fix daily on our sugar hit.

It’s handy for candy.
We boil it for sweets and other such treats.
It goes down a wham, concocting our jam.
We burn it on top of crème caramel
and crack it for toffee as well.
We cut it with flour
and bake it in brownies
and biscuits and cakes,
forgetting the toll on our body it takes –
the insidious growth of diabetes
and the creeping increase of obesity.

Who could have predicted
we’re hooked, we’re addicted,
energised by its high.
We’re glucose mainliners
who suffer the long-term effect of its stealth
whilst the growers, refiners,
the pushers,
they are the ones growing fat on its wealth.

Coca-Cola, Pepsico, ABF,
the three largest cartels
stand accused of robbing the poor as well.
To meet the demands of our sugary habit
they’re annexing land -they just grab it.
Indigenous communities
from Cambodia, Africa, through to Brazil
are being forced from their homes,
they’re rousted, they’re ousted
against their will,
replaced by plantations and sugar mills.

So next time you eat cake,
drink Pepsi or Coke,
give a thought for the bloke
who’s been thrown from his home
making way for plantations
where your drug’s being grown.


1st October 2013 – headline from the Independent

Notes:  Oxfam accuses Coke and Pepsi of taking land from the poor.”  Land covering an area the size of Italy has been taken from indigenous communities around the world by suppliers to the biggest names in the food and drinks industry, according to a major new report.  Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are among the companies criticised by Oxfam for their links to land disputes, with the charity alleging that nearly 800 large-scale land deals by foreign investors have seen 33 million hectares taken into corporate ownership globally since 2000.  The research – which also highlights alleged disputes with British food giant ABF – claims that poor communities from Brazil to Cambodia are losing their homes to make way for lucrative sugar crops to feed the rich world’s increasingly sweet tooth.


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