Sugar Production in the Caribbean

In some Caribbean territories, sugar is produced from sugarcane. When sugarcane stalks are brought to the sugar factory, the juice is extracted by crushing them. The remains of the cane stalks, known as bagasse, can be used as raw material in making bagasse board or as fuel for the boilers. The juice is filtered to remove any solid particles such as dirt or bits of cane. Lime is added which causes the impurities in the juice to settle. The juice is then boiled under a vacuum, releasing much of the water from it. This results in a mixture of sugar crystals and molasses. The mixture is then placed in a centrifuge where it is spun at high speeds. This separates the sugar crystals from the molasses. Molasses can be used in the making of animal feed or rum. The video below shows the sugar manufacturing process.

Trends in the Caribbean Sugar Industry

The nature of the sugar industry in the Caribbean has changed throughout the years. Generally, The importance of sugarcane has decreased. Some small countries have stopped producing sugar for export while others have greatly reduced sugar production.

In the past, Caribbean countries relied very heavily on sugar exports. This meant that changes in the price of sugar had a great effect on these territories. The extensive cultivation of sugarcane also meant that there was less land available to produce food for local use. In recent times, Caribbean countries have made a greater effort to diversify. These territories have explored other export crops. They are also growing more food and rearing more livestock for local markets.

Other uses of sugarcane are being explored in the region. One such use is the production of ethanol, which can be mixed with gasoline. This mixture can be used to run motor vehicles. The video below shows how Brazil has greatly reduced its need to import fuel by producing ethanol. Cuba is trying to do the same.

Related Pages

Sugarcane Cultivation in Guyana

Economic Activity

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