Sugarcane is an important commercial crop worldwide, and one of the principal sources of sugar, ethanol, and jaggery (a semi-refined sugar product used in the Indian subcontinent) globally. Its byproducts are also used as a fodder to feed livestock in many countries. Sugarcane is a tall, perennial grass reaching 3 to 4 meters in height, comprised by jointed, fibrous stalks. Though its cultivation started around 327 BC in the Indian subcontinent, it gradually found its way to the rest of the world via trade routes through Middle East. Later, it arrived and flouyrsihed as an industry in the New World. In India, sugarcane is still used in a large number of religious rituals. Today, sugarcane cultivated in most countries with warm climes.
10. United States (27,900 TMT)
The tryst of Americans with sugarcane began during the earliest of colonial times. With an annual production of 27,900 TMT, the United States of America remains a major producer of sugarcane, all the while also being the fifth largest consumer of sugar. The majority of the country's production comes from Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Texas.
9. Phillipines (31,900 TMT)
The Filipino domestic demand for sugar is high, and there is a need to produce a renewable energy from its byproducts because of rising imported oil prices. The country produces sugarcane mainly to meet these requirements, as well as the U.S export quota. The sugarcane industry gives employment to an approximate 0.7 million people in the Philippines. In short, the cash crop plays a major role in the country’s economy.
8. Indonesia (33,700 TMT)
Due to poorly managed farms and a lack of competition, the sugarcane production in the country has never reached its full potential. There is also a high domestic demand for sugar, and Indonesia's processing facilities remain to be not so impressive. However, despite all of these hurdles, the country has emerged as among the top 10 sugarcane producers globally. It imports refined sugar from other countries due to a lack of refineries to enable direct consumption of its own produced sugar. There is an urgent need to upgrade the existing sugar mills and to enhance their efficiency, as much Indonesia sugar cane has to be exported to be processed, and then imported back to be consaumed, resulting in major losses in efficiency.
7. Colombia (34,900 TMT)
In Columbia, sugarcane is harvested throughout the year, and the majority of the cultivation there is seen in the Cauca River Valley. That same area also has a high density of sugarcane mills and ethanol distilleries. Colombia produces nearly 34,900 thousand metric tonnes of sugarcane annually, ranking the South American nation as one of the major producers of sugar worldwide. Local consumption of sugar has increased by 1 percent in recent times. Henceforth, Colombian sugarcane production is going to increase in the coming years to cope with the rising sugar demand within the country domestically, as well as those of its well-established export markets abroad. Some of the countries that are chief importers of Columbian sugar are Chile, Peru, Haiti, and the United States of America.
6. Mexico (61,200 TMT)
Located in North America, Mexico has emerged as a leading producer of sugarcane over the years, and has approximately more than two million people employed in the cultivation of sugarcane, either directly or indirectly. Mexicans grow the commercial crop, mainly to yield sustainable bio-energy from sugarcane byproducts at home, and to ship sugarcane derivaitves abroad. The country enjoys a tariff-free sugar export into the neighboring United States of America.
5. Pakistan (63,800 TMT)
In Pakistan, sugarcane is a major cash crop and a source of employment for more than 9 million Pakistanis. Naturally, sugarcane help drive the export economy of Pakistan to a significant degree. Although existing mills are efficient in terms of their capacity, Pakistan's government has taken many initiatives in the past to increase the country's overall production. These initiatives have boosted the overall sugarcane production, and because of these the country know realizes an annual production of 63,800 thousand metric tons of the commodity. This gives Pakistan a reputation as being one of the top five sugarcane producers across the entire world. The country exports sugar to the neighboring countries of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and other central Asian countries.
4. Thailand (100,100 TMT)
The annual production of sugarcane has been increasing steadily in Thailand over the last few years. Ideal rainfall distribution, improved cane varieties, and increased use of fertilizers has contributed a lot towards this increase in Thai sugarcane production. Moreover, stable returns from the commercial crop have led to an increase of the sugarcane cultivation area. Its overall export of refined sugar has also now risen considerably because of such factors as a relatively low demand for sugar in Thai domestic markets and inherently low shipping costs to other large Asian economies. Thailand exports sugar to a large number of countries, of which the most prominent ones are China, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, and Japan. It is also a major exporter of molasses products obtained from sugarcane syrups and solids.
3. China (125,500 TMT)
An estimated 80 percent of sugar production in China comes from the sugarcane grown in its South and Southwest regions. In fact, the country has a long history of sugarcane cultivation. The earliest records of such suggest that in the 4th century BC, Chinese people were already knowledgeable regarding sugarcane cultivation. However, they did not become proficiently familiar with sugar refining techniques until much later, around 645 AD. Despite being one of the largest producers, China, in order to meet its high domestic demand, imports sugar from other countries as well. Namely, the chief among these are Brazil, Thailand, Australia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Cuba. Currently, the country is the largest market for sugar sourced from Myanmar. The country has also plunged into the production of ethanol from sugarcane as a full-fledged affair in order to help meet the rising fuel demand of its vast population.
2. India (341,200 TMT)
In India, the states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Bihar produce the maximum quantities of sugarcane. An annual produce of 341,400 TMT was estimated in the year 2015. It is not, however, any wonder that India is one of the largest exporters of sugar worldwide. In India, sugarcane is cultivated for the production of crystal sugar, jaggery (Gur), and numerous alcoholic beverages. It is estimated that the nation's sugarcane industry provides employment for more than 6 million Indians. The country exports sugar to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Somalia, Sudan, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates. India’s sugar export to Iran is declining, however, especially over the past few years.
1. Brazil (739,300 TMT)
Brazil tops the list of sugarcane producers, with an annual production of 739,300 thousand metric tons. The South-Central region of Brazil is accountable for more than 90 percent of this national production output. Sugar is the main product sourced from the sugarcane cultivated in this country. However, production of ethanol from residual molasses is now growing more popular, as ethanol is used as a fuel to power automobiles, which Brazilians are owning in larger numbers. Recently, the country has challenged sugar subsidies given by the Thai Government to the sugarcane producers at the World Trade Organization (WTO). These subsidies are likely to affect the global sugar pricing and Brazil's sugarcane market share everywhere.
Where Does Sugarcane Grow?
Brazil produces more sugarcane than anywhere else in the world, with a total of around 739,300 thousand metric tons. Most of the country's sugarcane is grown in its south-central region. After Brazil, the largest producers are India and China.