Economics

Top Sugar Exporting And Importing Countries In The World

Brazil is the largest sugar exporter and China is the largest sugar importer in the world as of 2015/16.

Source Of Sugar

80% of the sugar produced globally is derived from sugarcane and the rest from sugarbeet. Sugarcane agriculture is driven by the global demand for sugar. Sugarcane refers to grasses of the Saccharum genus that are native to the tropical and temperate regions of Melanesia and South Asia. Sugarcane is processed to extract sugar used in the food industry or is fermented for ethanol production. Sugarcane is also used in the production of bagasse, molasses, rum, falernum, etc. Sugarcane reeds are also used to make a variety of products such as mats, thatch, pens, screens, etc. Sugarcane is also cultivated as fodder for livestock.

History Of Sugarcane Cultivation

Sugarcane was first discovered in India between the 6th and 4th centuries BC by the Persians and then by the Greeks. Soon sugar trade flourished in the country and was exported as a luxury commodity abroad. Gradually, sugarcane was introduced in other parts of the world. It began to be cultivated in the Caribbean, South America, and islands of the Pacific Ocean. Sugar plantations in many of the colonies of Europe became a major driver of migration of humans in the form of slaves or indentured servants.

Production Of Sugarcane

Sugarcane is the world’s largest crop in terms of quantity produced. In 2012, FAO estimated that the crop was cultivated in over 90 countries of the world on a total land area of 26×106 hectares. The total sugarcane harvest in 2012 was 1.83×109 tons. Brazil is the world’s largest producer of sugarcane. The other major sugarcane producing countries following Brazil are India, China, Thailand, Pakistan, and Mexico.

Top Sugar Exporting Nations

Brazil is the world’s biggest exporter of sugarcane. In the year 2015 to 2016, the country exported 24.4 million metric tons of sugarcane. Sugarcane was first introduced in the country by the Portuguese in the 1530s. Soon, it became an integral part of the country’s economic, political, and social history. About two-thirds of the sugar produced here is exported. More than 100 countries across the world depend on Brazil’s sugar exports to satisfy their domestic needs. The biggest markets of Brazil’s sugar are Russia, India, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates. The other leading sugarcane exporters in the world are Thailand, Australia, and Guatemala. A list of the 10 leading sugar exporters in the world is provided below.

Top Sugar Importing Nations

As seen from the list below, China is the leading sugar importer in the world. In the year 2015/2016, China imported 6 million metric tons of sugar. Indonesia, the European Union, and the United Arab Emirates are the other top sugar importing countries.

Top Sugar Exporting And Importing Countries In The World

RankExporting CountryAmount Of Sugar Imported (in million metric tons), 2015/16Importing CountryAmount Of Sugar Exported (in million metric tons), 2015/16
1Brazil24.4China6.0
2Thailand7.80Indonesia3.6
3Australia3.70European Union3.0
4India3.00United States3.0
5Guatemala2.30United Arab Emirates2.5
6European Union1.50Bangladesh2.3
7Mexico1.28Malaysia2.0
8Cuba0.95South Korea1.9
9Colombia0.60Algeria1.9
10United Arab Emirates0.23Nigeria1.5

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