The sugar industry is responsible for the supply of sugar, which is considered as an integral part of the human diet and found, depending on the region, in many staple foods. It is processed in almost every food category.
Currently, the global production of sugar exceeds 170 million metric tons annually. Brazil dominated the global market in terms of production and exports in 2016/2017. The United States was also ranked among the top producers, generating some 8.2 million metric tons in 2015/2016.
Sugar is almost completely extracted from two crops – sugar cane and sugar beet. Some 1.9 billion metric tons of sugar cane were produced worldwide in 2014, of which more than 737 million metric tons came from Brazil alone. India, China, Thailand, and Pakistan rounded off the five leading sugar cane producing countries. In comparison, approximately 267 million metric tons of sugar beets were produced worldwide in 2014, with France and Russia producing the largest amount.
In context of international trade, Brazil topped the list of sugar exporting countries in 2016/2017 with an export amount greater than 28.15 million metric tons. On the import side, China, Indonesia and the United States were ranked as the leading sugar importing countries.
In addition to its culinary uses, sugar cane is also utilized for the production of biofuels such as ethanol.
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