Sugar cane

Sugar cane | GuatexplorerImmediately after the conquest of Guatemala, new landlords started cultivation of the sugar cane. The story says that it started on the Lake Amatitlán in 1536, but soon areas of Jilotepeque, Escuintla, Guazacapán and Verapaz became known for sugar production. Interestingly, this new industry was taken over by Catholic Church missionaries, members of the various orders like Jesuits, Mercedarians, Dominicans and Augustinians.

The good side of the production was that the infrastructure of communication and transportation was necessary to take the product to the distribution centres and consumers, helping the development of the country. It also helped to develop the rum industry in the times when rum was literary a currency. Sugar cane was a new hope for a new colony, later for a new independent state, the source of the income in hard times and source of joy through rum as well.

Guatemala has good competition with other countries that are sugar suppliers, but because of the quality, low cost of refining, Guatemala manages to be competitive. Of the total sugar production,  about 30% is consumed in the local market. A rise in the production of rum, soda water, sweets and cookies will make this percentage bigger, but Guatemalan producers look for new markets around the world.

Sugar cane | Guatexplorer

There are 17 active sugar mills, located mostly on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, in the south of the country. Likewise, the sugar cane is cultivated in Petén, Huehuetenango and San Marcos. At this moment Guatemala produces 2,5 % of all sugar produced in the world. Here nobody can compete with Brazil that produces around 40 %. Guatemala is number 7 in the world with around 600 million $ worth of its sugar export. It is 50 % more than sugary famous Cuba!

Travelling around Guatemala you’ll most likely bump into some sugar cane plantation or see the sugar cane transports on the Guatemalan roads. Stop for a while, or even better, look for sugar cane plantations that permit a visit. You’ll be taken into the landlord’s mansion, taste some rum or sweets, see the harvest or production and get familiar with that side of Guatemala.

Sugar cane | Guatexplorer

Sugar cane | Guatexplorer

Sugar cane | Guatexplorer

Sugar cane | Guatexplorer

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