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Not Raining on Brazil’s Sugar Parade

A recent Wall Street Journal report out of Sao Paulo warns that “The recent weather in Brazil’s main sugar-cane growing areas is hurting the development of the crop.”

“The amount of rain that fell in the main sugar growing areas in the center-south region of Brazil,” Jeffrey Lewis reports, “was 27% less than normal in December and only half the normal rainfall for January.”

That center-south region “is responsible for about 90% of the country’s cane output.”  As such, the new forecast for the country’s 2014-15 growing season is being revised down.

“This is the period of most growth of sugar cane, because of the heat and rain,” explained sugar consultant Plinio Nastari of Datagro.  “With the lack of rain, the cane can’t develop to its full potential. We’re evaluating the impact in terms of loss of potential now, but clearly there’s a loss of development.”

On one hand, considering the worldwide glut of sugar, a production drop in the world’s largest producer and exporter of sugar, could be good news.


Crop problems due to a lack of rain in a nation known for its rain forests is a stark reminder of the potential danger to the U.S. should we lose our domestic sugar industry over unlimited imports of cheap, government-subsidized sugar from other countries.

And another reason to take seriously the recent warning by Tom Giovanetti of the Institute for Policy Innovation that…

Countries do not ‘dump’ products on the U.S. market to endear themselves to U.S. consumers. Rather, countries dump products specifically to put domestic competitors out of business and thus gain market share.”

Which is why Citizen Outreach continues to support U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho’s (R-Florida) “zero for zero” House resolution calling on the Obama administration to work with the World Trade Organization to simultaneously end all direct and indirect sugar subsidies by all sugar producing nations.

U.S. farmers can compete with farmers anywhere in the world on a level playing field – and a level playing field will assure the health and vitality of our domestic sugar industry while also assuring a true, market price for sugar that will be good for growers, refiners, producers and consumers.