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Sugar-coating a subsidy crisis

Stephen Beard Mar 12, 2007
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Sugar-coating a subsidy crisis

Stephen Beard Mar 12, 2007
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

SCOTT JAGOW: Today in Britain, a new very expensive sugar went on the market. Our man in London, Stephen Beard is here to tell us about it. Stephen?

STEPHEN BEARD: Plantation reserve comes from Barbados. It is six times more expensive than standard sugar, costs about $5 for half a bag. It’s Barbados’ response to an industry in crisis. The E.U. is about to slash subsidies and that’s gonna create huge problems and therefore the Barbadian government wants to try to carve out a substantial niche market for much more expensive sugar.

JAGOW: And is there a market for sugar that’s six times more expensive?

BEARD: There’s only one customer so far in the U.K. apparently, the Ritz hotel. They had a wine taster who sampled this and he said it had a hint of caramel and honeysuckle. And you don’t need much of it. It is apparently very much sweeter than ordinary sugar so you use it sparingly and at $5 a bag you certainly would use it sparingly.

JAGOW: I would think so. I mean Europeans are known for paying for fair trade products. Does Barbados not qualify for that?

BEARD: No that is part of the problem, they will not qualify for that fair trade labeling so the consumers will pay a higher price knowing that they are helping poor producers. Barbados is simply too wealthy to qualify for that.

JAGOW: Well I guess we’ll see how it works. Let me know when you get your complimentary bag of sugar.

BEARD: I certainly will.

JAGOW: Alright thanks Stephen.

BEARD: OK Scott.

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