NEWS: The bitter aftertaste of a sugar deal gone bad

Posted on Posted in News

(PHNOM PENH POST –  and ) – Houy Mai has lost everything to the global demand for cheap sugar and biofuel. The 54-year-old mother-of-eight has fought a years-long battle with Mitr Phol, Asia’s biggest sugar producer and one of three major suppliers to Coca-Cola.

Her family was left homeless and without a sustainable income in 2009 after military police set fire to her house – along with about 100 others – in Kaun Kriel commune’s Bos village. Her children have been forced to leave school to find jobs, and her youngest child was born in prison, where Mai was jailed on charges linked to her opposition to the plantation company.

Her husband died earlier this year. She says it was from the stress of not knowing where their next meal was coming from. Her tale is not unusual for the hundreds of families displaced by Mitr Phol, which is owned by Thai Chamber of Commerce president Isara Vongkusolkit, a man whose net worth of $1.5 billion makes him the country’s 20th richest.

But Mai places the blame ultimately on the world’s largest drinks maker.

Read the full story at the Phnom Penh Post