Asian Agribusiness Investment and the Global Sugar Supply Chain: Insights for Food Regimes
In this paper, I illustrate the consolidation of economic power through an examination of the financial vehicles involved in three recent foreign acquisitions of sugarcane-producing land in North Queensland, Australia, since 2010: Wilmar (Singapore), COFCO (China) and Mitr Phol (Thailand). Each of these agribusinesses combines a mix of Northern and Southern finance actors, with varying logics to owning and managing assets in the sector, in Australia and overseas. Each company has also met with very different public perceptions of its impacts and responsibilities for the sector, surrounding communities, and environments. In keeping with a ‘food regimes as methodology’ approach, our research presents evidence of contradiction, crisis, historical conjuncture, identifiable moments and capital accumulation, and considers the role of the state, corporate-social movement contestation, and public/private regulation. By ‘following the money’ from parent companies to Australian subsidiaries, via joint ventures and direct investment, this case study also illustrates the deep reach of the agribusiness giants ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Dreyfus.