top of page

Sugarcane: the national treasure

   Cultivated in Brazil since the 16th century, sugar cane is a product that has great prominence in the history of Brazilian trade. A priori, only with raw sugar, exporting it to European countries like the Netherlands. But these days, the country is the world's largest producer, largest sugar exporter and second largest ethanol exporter in the world. And its production is concentrated in 93% in the Center-South region and only 7% in the North-Northeast.

Brazil largest producer in the world

    Currently, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Brazil is the largest producer in the world, accounting for 40% of the world volume of culm (stem) harvested. With the conclusion of the 2020/2021 harvest, production grew by 2.36% compared to the 2019/2020 harvest, according to the Sugarcane Observatory, with a total of 605.46 million tons processed. As a result, there was greater availability of the product, and even compared to the previous harvest, an increase of 7.11% in the production of sugar and ethanol. According to Antonio de Padua Rodrigues, technical director of the Sugarcane Industry Union (UNICA), this was the biggest harvest in the history of the sector and amid the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the sugar and ethanol markets were not harmed.

Ethanol: 1st renewable source in Brazil

    With the biofuel market, ethanol has become an alternative to gasoline, derived from petroleum. In other words, inputs are derived from sugarcane for the production and supply of the sugar and ethanol markets. The export of these derivatives moved important values for the Brazilian economy in the last 5 years, sugar with a total of 30.48 billion dollars and ethanol a total of 3.92 billion dollars.

Source of income for around 2.3 million people

    In addition to high economic values, the sugarcane market has 360 production units in Brazil, indirectly generating employment for around 2.3 million people, according to the Ministry of Labor and Employment. And it is also a market that supports more than 70 thousand independent rural producers.


   With growing concern about environmental impacts, ethanol compared to gasoline provides a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the National Agency for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP). Furthermore, there is the possibility of a new market to be explored, of bioelectricity that is produced from sugarcane bagasse and already provides energy for the mills. And in a possible future, surplus energy can be sold to cities.

The importance of an international consultancy


    Therefore, the sugarcane market is strong even in delicate situations such as the pandemic. As well as a large sector that generates many jobs, giving opportunities to small producers and can still be explored for a sustainable environment. And the investment for better knowledge of the export area and market opportunities brings a benefit to the product's advantages in the international market.

By Gabriela S. Moreira on 04/21/2021


bottom of page