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Sugar ‘Crisis’ or a Health Opportunity

Posted on November 14, 2010
Filed Under >Fatima Saleem, Economy & Development, Health & Disease
16 Comments
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Fatima Saleem

The sugar scam resurfaces yet again.

Skyrocketing sugar prices, in an environment where inflation is already a critical concern, is only adding fuel to the fire. Concisely, a whole chain involving politicians, ministers, mafias etc are said to be responsible.

To begin with, I am unable to understand the mere basis of this industry. What is the gain? Apart from jeopardizing health, discontent farmers and public frustration now and then. Was it meant for exports? If yes, how can a commodity be exported contentedly when it is unattainable for a massive own population? Cane, it seems, is no more a cash crop.

The saga is more complex than it appears to be.

To get down to it; minor farmers are bullied because of the manipulative legislation that does not allow farmers in specified areas around the mills to do crushing on their own. They are destined to give away their crop to the mills on conditions prescribed by the industry. According to the sugar factory control act 1950 (on which the existing legislation is still based).

“The Cane Commissioner may, after consulting the Board, issue an order declaring any area to be reserved area for the purposes of the supply of cane to a particular factory during a particular crushing season or seasons, and may likewise, at any time, cancel such order or alter the boundaries of an area so reserved”.

Also, it goes on to say:

“If the cane growers or Cane Growers’ Co-operative Societies in the assigned area are not willing to enter into agreement to supply, the Cane Commissioner may, by an order in writing, require them to do so on such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by him, which order shall be legally binding on the cane growers or the Cane Growers’ Co-operative Societies, as the case may be”

Such legislation has led to the growth of an unwanted, uncalled for industry in Pakistan. I wonder: in what way is it aiding to the progress of the country?

Health hazards of this ‘Chemically treated Chemical,’ also known as ‘White Poison’, is a widely accepted fact. Refined sugar is obtained after processing, using several chemicals like phosphoric acid, formic acid, sulfur dioxide, preservatives, and/or any flocculants, surfactants, bleaching agents or viscosity modifiers. All vitamins (A,D,B complex), minerals, proteins, fats, enzymes, fiber and every nutrient is removed during the process.

Ironically, no research facility is available in Pakistan to tell you if there are other indigenous causes of the Diabetes mellitus epidemic in the country, apart from the usual risk factors like genetic predisposition, changed lifestyle etc, though references are available linking refined sugar to Diabetes. “Refined white sugar is to a large extent to blame for some forms of diabetes, whose victims face the threat of blindness and other serious impairments, not to mention heart disease, stroke, schizophrenia, alcoholism, and possibly some kinds of cancer,” according to Dr. Robert D. McCracken, University of California (UCLA) anthropologist.

Sugar, being sugar, is unhealthy. But unlike raw sugar, the refined sugar rushes through the stomach wall, and stimulates excessive secretion of insulin by the pancreas. The traditional raw sugar, or muscovado sugar or ‘shakkar‘ as we call it, is made by evaporated cane juice. It is already reasonably refined, free of dyes and chemicals and contains mineral salts, fiber, and vitamins as well.

West has acknowledged the worth of naturally acquired food and is raising ‘Go Green’ slogans, thereby promoting the new trend of organics. Gradually recognizing the hazards of refined and processed food, theirs slow twist in lifestyles; organics is now much more expensive and represents class and flair as compared to the so-called refined or synthetic. Since we, the complexed faction of the sub-continent, do what the West does so in this respect particularly, I believe the trend of traditionally made sugar should and will be revived in Pakistan. Maybe this ‘sugar crisis’ will turn into a national ‘health opportunity.’

Such a trend in our region, if promoted, can have remarkable impact. Apart from health safety, it will help counter exploitative mill owners mostly politicians, and prevent manipulation of small farmers. Increased awareness will raise demand and perhaps some day sugar industry and mafia that controls it will die a natural death. By the way, brown sugar is a refined or partially refined form of white sugar with some molasses mixed in and not at all a substitute of raw sugar.

To get rid of sugar crisis once for good, radical measures must be adopted, including earnest will and an amendment in the sugar factory control constitution. I cannot see a point in breeding such an industry, which is more of a nuisance than a benefit. It should only be limited to provision of sugar for industrial use and available resources be shifted to certain new feasible industry.

(Editor’s note: Today, November 14, is World Diabetes Day – a good day to think about health issues. However, we should note that the disease often referred to as ‘sugar’ is not caused per se by sugar intake; although excessive consumption of sweets can cause obesity which is associated with the incidence of Type 2 diabetes. This post’s publication on this date is a coincidence – but a useful one if it helps us think more about health issues).

16 Comments on “Sugar ‘Crisis’ or a Health Opportunity”

  1. ASAD says:
    November 14th, 2010 12:24 am

    I agree with all the points about the health impacts of sugar and why it should be curtailed. But sugar is also a daily necessity and this price increase in hurting the poor greatly. The two things should be dealt with separately.

  2. Nusrat says:
    November 14th, 2010 12:32 am

    Very good post and good wY to present the issue

  3. Mohammed Amjad says:
    November 14th, 2010 1:29 am

    The ‘crisis’ of sugar is really a ‘money making opportunity’ for our political leaders of all parties and nothing more.

  4. Sehrish says:
    November 14th, 2010 2:34 am

    Well, i agree there is big hand of our so called politicians and leaders behind all this sugar crisis. this is only fake bcz they own the mills and are extracting maximum profits in their reign.

    I believe we should all stop using sugar as it will tell these leaders that we are united against them and will not allow them to harvest extra profits from our pockets. Secondly, considering the health hazards it cause to human beings it should be stopped and we should learn to live without this white poison.
    Finally thankyou for such a nice article. God bless you

  5. Muhammad Asif says:
    November 14th, 2010 4:28 am

    The sugar factory control act of 1950 should be abolished. That seems to be the mother of all diseases.

  6. Nihari says:
    November 14th, 2010 9:25 am

    Very valid point….lte’s add to it…..

    1. Wheat and Rice are carbs….the encourage obesity….the price shouse be inceased too….With the increase in population globally, we can export it and can earn foreign exchange…World’s loss is our gain.

    2. Pakistan’s water is extremely populated. A tax should be imposed on the consumption of water….This would discourage the use of water especially for drinking.

    3. Same is very true for air….Polluted air that we breath give rise to disease putting further strain on the country’s health system…A good size teriff should be imposed on the consumption of air

    4. We are already taking the right steps in Electricity

    All the funds above can be used for rehabilitation of the flood victims. Those who can not survive. their body parts should be sold to the west as another way of earning valuable foreign exchange and giving rise to another excellent new industry.

    The brain of the author should be taken out immediated and preserved so it can be researched by the future generations….it is too precious to remain in the author’s head.

  7. November 14th, 2010 10:08 am

    Yar main roman me comment karon ga baat ye hai ke ye jo sugar ka bohran hai, or mazi me aate ka bohran tha. Hamare mulk main hai is ki responsibility sirf or sirf establishment par hai. Hamari government ka totally failure hai warna aik agriculture country hone ke bawajood hum is tarah ki gazai killut ka shikar akhir kuon hain. main koi government ka doshman nahi hoon laikin phir akhir kon is ka responsible hai. Tu friends baat ye hai ke hame ab kuch talbdili ki zarorat hai. we must think about change if we want progress among nations and save our next generation.

  8. Pervaiz says:
    November 14th, 2010 11:26 am

    Excellent article. This white poison is causing so much trouble to health, but I thin that if we stop using les of it there is also a political benefit because the people that will hurt most are these chor politicians!

  9. fiftyfifty says:
    November 14th, 2010 12:07 pm
  10. Qudsia says:
    November 14th, 2010 4:54 pm

    Yes, less sugar consumption is a good idea.
    But so is a proper sugar market. Lets just do away with all the permit vermit and make the market open. The price will fix itself by supply and demand!

  11. November 15th, 2010 4:55 am

    Thanks for suggestion really effective words i like your steps thanks again for sharing.

  12. Flexacine says:
    November 15th, 2010 5:50 am

    Joint pain is a common phenomenon everywhere. Millions of people are suffering from pain in the joints with inability to do their routine work. But Flexacine is coming to the rescue now and many have already been benefited from it. But you need to take Flexacine regularly to get rid of joint pain in the long run.

  13. November 16th, 2010 2:15 pm

    Sugar is not the basic necessity of Man. We can live without it or by using a very small amount daily. Let’s practice it in our lives.

  14. Jobs in Pakistan says:
    November 17th, 2010 12:27 pm

    I simply will want to quit using sugar. I believe its just a matter of getting used to it, instead of telling ourselves to buy it at a higher price.

  15. irfan says:
    November 20th, 2010 11:29 pm

    i think that the corruption in sugar crisis are held because of three aspects……1)pakistan sugar mill association,2)ministry of industries,3)ministry of commerce……

  16. Vitalzym says:
    December 4th, 2010 12:59 am

    this is really informative post but i think if we take some natural ingredients then we can reduce our age.

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