Sugar, used as a sweetener in food and beverages, is a sweet crystalline substance acquired from various plants, such as sugar cane and sugar beet. It is said that sugar had first been used in the Polynesian Islands more than five thousand years ago. Early Polynesians discovered that sugar cane held a sweet-tasting liquid and could be used in preparing food. Sugar cane then became widespread due to trade, invasions and conquests. In 1493, Christopher Columbus brought sugar cane to the Caribbean and the crop thrived in the fertile environment.
In 2014/2015, the world sugar production amounted to approximately 175.1 million metric tons. During this period, Asia was the largest sugar-producing region in the world, yielding approximately 66.12 million metric tons of sugar. India, China and Thailand were the region's top sugar producers.
Sugar production in Brazil has fluctuated over the past five years. In 2015/2016, the country produced approximately 34.7 million metric tons of sugar. However, this production is forecasted to increased to roughly 37.8 million metric tons in 2016/2017. In 2014, Brazil was the leading global sugar cane producer, with a production volume of 737.16 million metric tons. That year, Russia and France were the primary sugar beet producers worldwide.