Global food and drinks companies are not taking any significant steps to stop land grabbing and disputes in their supply chains, according to a new report released by international agency Oxfam.

The report entitled ‘Sugar Rush: Land rights and the supply chains of the biggest food and beverage companies’ highlights issues of land grabs and disputes related to companies that supply sugar for Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products, and allegations of disputes inside Associated British Foods’ supply chain.

As per the report, worldwide sugar production was 176 million tonnes in 2012, while the food and drinks consumes more than half of it. Sugar production is expected to rise by 25% by 2020.

The agency warned that the sugar trade is helping to fuel the problem of land grabs and disputes as about 31 million hectares, roughly the size of Italy, is being used to cultivate sugar. It also noted that local communities are not paid compensation for the land acquired.

Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima said that sugar is already linked to serious health issues and also lies at the heart of the bitter problem of land grabs.

"Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Associated British Foods are the world’s biggest producers and buyers of sugar but they are doing little to ensure the sugar in their products is not grown on land grabbed from poor communities," Byanyima added.

The agency, which also found issues of land grabs and conflicts in Cambodia and Brazil, has urged the three companies to publicly disclose their source and usage of sugar.