Global Market Report: Sugar cane prices and sustainability
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Global Market Report: Sugar cane prices and sustainability

12 September 2023


This report explores recent market trends in the sugar cane sector, what these trends mean for producers in developing countries, and what sustainability standards, governments, and private sector actors can do to improve farmers' incomes.Sugar cane is an ancient agricultural commodity that has been sustaining sugar cravings across the globe for thousands of years. Today, over 80% of sugar cane is converted into cane sugar and used as a sweetener for a wide variety of food and drinks. The remaining 20% is converted into biofuel, as it’s one of the most efficient crops at converting sunlight into energy.Sugar cane is considered one of the most valuable agricultural commodities in the world. As a result, cultivating and processing sugar cane provides livelihoods for more than 100 million people in 120 countries. However, the value of sugar is much higher than the value of the cane from which it is produced. Low farm gate prices, coupled with high production costs and intense competition, mean that many smallholder farmers in developing countries live in poverty.

Published in
IISD, 2023


Vivek Voora
Senior Associate

Steffany Bermúdez
Policy Advisor I

Cristina Larrea
Lead II, Sustainability Standards

Erika Luna
Junior Policy Analyst


trade food and agriculture responsible business standards and value chains