Which Country is Known as the Sugar Bowl of the World?

A sugar cane farm in Brazil.
A sugar cane farm in Brazil.

The term sugar bowl of the world was invented to refer to a region of the world with high sugar production. Sugar is an essential commodity all over the world as it is used in most meals to increase the flavor. The 42,426 square mile nation of Cuba earned the title as the sugar bowl of the world due to the massive amounts of sugar produced in the country. However, due to many challenges, the quantity of sugar produced in Cuba declined which resulted in Brazil getting the title.

Sugar Production in Cuba

The Cuban sugar industry traces its roots to the time when the nation was under Spanish rule as the colonial masters introduced the growing of the crop in 1523. For a while, sugar production in the country was unremarkable until the 18th century when Cuba became a world leader in the sugar industry. During the colonial period, Cuban farmers competed with Haitian farmers in the production of sugar with the Cubans resorting to slave labor to overtake Haitian production. From 1790 to 1805, sugar production in Cuba increased by approximately 142% from 14,000 tons to 34,000 tons. After Cuba gained its independence, the government increased its investment in the sugar industry leading to a farther increase in the quantity of sugar the nation produced. The US government, as well as some sugar companies based in the United States, also led to the increase in the amount of sugar that Cuba produced. The Cuban revolution caused a severe decrease in the nation's sugar production as the government's position on some issues caused friction with the US. The sour relationship between the two countries resulted in the US stopping its investment in the Cuban sugar industry contributing to its decline.

Sugar Production i;n Brazil

The sugar industry in Brazil is one of the nation's most essential industries as in 2017 the country produced approximately 647.63 million metric tons of sugar which was a slight decrease from the amount produced in 2016 which was around 657.18 million metric tons. Like Cuba, sugarcane growing in Brazil dates back to the colonial period with several reports indicating that the first crop of sugarcane grown in Brazil's borders was planted in 1516. The Portuguese invested in sugarcane growing for both economic and strategic reasons to protect their interest in the colony. The colonial sugar industry expanded rapidly after the Dutch took over control of Pernambuco from the Portuguese. The Dutch relied heavily on slave labor to increase their production of sugar. Sugar is mainly grown within Brazil's southern and central regions which combined account for over 90% of the sugar produced in the country. Because of the vast quantities of sugar produced in the state, it is the world's leading producer of the commodity.

Sugar Consumption Around the World

Sugar is a valuable commodity all over the world due to the sweet flavor it adds to food. The nation that consumes the most sugar in the world is the United States as each American consumes about 126 grams of sugar on a daily basis. Other nations with a high intake of sugar include Germany, the Netherlands, and Ireland.


More in World Facts