Brazil is the world’s top producer and exporter of sugarcane. We supply 50% of the world’s sugar, with a relevant production of sugarcane, processed sugar, and ethanol. Brazilian Farmers can produce large volumes of sugarcane in a small proportion of the land dedicated to it: just 1%.
Sugarcane production in Brazil is also a key sector for our social development. Around 40% of the sugarcane processed by Brazilian mills is supplied by 76,000 independent farmers. By law, sugar exports from Brazil to Europe must be sourced in the northeast region of Brazil, one of the most developmentally challenged areas of the country.
Sugarcane is also a highly sustainable renewable source. Brazilian sugarcane ethanol makes up 18% of the country’s renewable energy output. It has over 70% fewer CO2 emissions than petrol. Thanks to sugarcane ethanol, Brazil has been able to displace a large portion of its petrol consumption for road transportation.
The sustainable expansion of sugarcane cultivation across the country is strictly controlled by regulations like the Agroecological Zoning of Sugarcane national policy. Most of the sugarcane production is 2,000 kilometers away from the Amazon. New cultivation is allowed only on land that can be cultivated with minimum environmental impact and that requires the least amount of water possible.
Sugarcane cultivation is not allowed in the Amazon, Pantanal wetlands, Bacia do Alto Paraguai, or in any other area of native vegetation. This policy ensures that any growth in Brazil’s sugarcane production and exports continues to protect Brazil’s sensitive biomes.
Sugarcane is the basis of cachaça, one of the most consumed distilled spirits in the world, produced exclusively in Brazil. Cachaça is made by fermenting must of sugarcane juice from over 1,000 distilleries all over Brazil. Thousands of smallholder farmers across the country cultivate sugarcane only to produce cachaça.
Today there are 4,200 registered cachaça trademarks and the distilling sector generates around 400,000 direct and indirect jobs. Cachaça is exported to 60 countries, especially in Europe, where it is mostly consumed in caipirinhas, a cocktail of cachaça, lime, and sugar.