Sugar in the Kimberley – sweet and sour Chinese anyone?
With what I have written about sugar recently, you may understand why this report makes me scratch my head in disbelief:
‘Shanghai Zhongfu Group plans to invest up to A$700m (US$728m) in the next six years in developing land in the far north (of Western Australia) and building a sugar mill that will produce about 4m tonnes of sugar cane and 500,000 tons of sugar crystal for export annually. The company will lease 13,400 hectares (33,100 acres) of government-owned land for periods of 10 years to 50 years.’
I hope (probably pointlessly) that the land is not virgin bush where highly valuable wild food and medicinal plants will be wiped out to be replaced with a monoculture that typically soaks up vast tonnes of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, way too much water and if they still burn the cane before harvest, contributes significant carbon pollution as well. There’s other environmental impacts with displaced wildlife, permanent destruction of habitat, polluted run-off, contaminated neighboring land and a refuge for cane toads.
The throw-away line, “Government-owned land” begs some questions too. What Aboriginal people are being displaced from their traditional Lands, country that’s been occupied and managed for maximum biodiversity for a brief 60,000 years. Are they being re-located or just driven off? Have they been promised some beads and shells as royalties as their sacred sites are wiped from the planet?
Yep. Makes sense giving this opportunity to the Chinese who are well smart enough not to grow this stuff at home.
And what’s being produced?
A useless crop of an artificial sweetener which will lead to more cases of ‘diabesity’ and other nutritional diseases. Great. Government health budgets will need a lift so I hope that this has been factored into the economic plan.
There must be nearly a million new diabetics every year in China by now. The world really needs all this white death.
The only upside is that this industry and its ramifications are creating a bigger opportunity for Kakadu Complex which we describe as the only antidote to modern foods.
Too bad they are probably wiping out hundreds of Kakadu plum trees on the 33,100 acres they are clearing for sugar cane.
And they called us the Lucky Country. Nothing smart about this at all and more proof of the corruption and idiocy of Government.