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Editorial Comment

To paraphrase Balzac, when the recommendations of policy makers are in harmony with the agenda of their political masters, then, fruitful progress is likely. The re-form of the EU sugar regime over good many years which has made the sector globally competitive and invariably market driven is arguably a forceful reminder of this.

The painful rationalization of the industry by practically half was the price the political masters were prepared to shoulder to jettison continued support to the sector. Sadly, though, in the global sugar sector, this remains an isolated example of effective policy making, endorsed by political masters that was proactive in its conception.

In response to rocketing oil prices in the ‘70s, the Brazilian government initiated the National Alcohol Programme ‘ProAlcool’ in 1975. The intention was to substitute gasoline with cane-based ethanol in automobiles. This reactive policy making was evident when it became evident that alternate energy sources will need to be tapped to meet rising energy needs of a growing economy - hydroelectrical power was insufficient. Only than attention was focused onto biomass power, but even then, during the early phase, millers used to complain of lack of incentivisation by the government. After the credit crunch in 2008, bankruptcy in the sugar/ethanol has been extensive. Some 80 factories have closed down. More may follow. The industry has been left at the mercy of market with little evidence that policy makers nor political masters care for their plight, save for the industry organizations like Unica.

Continue reading this article and access additional International Sugar Journal news by downloading the November issue of ISJ Lite below.

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ISJ Lite is a 'taster' version of the monthly International Sugar Journal, including a sample selection of articles and updates for the sugar industry.

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