Sugarcane in Mauritius

The sugar is inextricably linked to the history and the development of Mauritius, which in fact makes it what it is today, concerning its mixed legacy, its economy and, of course, its agriculture. Since its introduction by the Dutch to its cultivation by the French and the British, sugar cane has made the sugar industry Mauritius’ first source of income for decades and even centuries.

Sugar cane is currently grown on 72 000 hectares or 85 % of the arable land of Mauritius. On average, 600 000 tons of sugar are produced annually with most of it (530 000 tons) exported to the European Union. The national consumption of sugar is approximately 40 000 tons per year. The success of the sugar industry in Mauritius has been mainly due to the preferential trade agreements which the country has benefited successively from the United Kingdom and the European Union. The stable income from sugar exports have served to develop not only the local sugar industry but have also encouraged the diversification of the Mauritian economy, with a rapid growth during the years 1980 and 1990 of the tourist sector, financial services, and export-oriented manufacturing industries.

The harvest season of sugar cane in Mauritius normally begins in June of each year and ends toward the month of December. In the past, sugar cane was harvested manually, that is, the workers had to equip their sickle and cut the canes in groups, covering field by field, and later they had to look for the canes that have been cut and put them in trucks (or ox carts at the time).

Fortunately, with the time and development, these manual works have been replaced by specialized machines which cut canes automatically, clean them and directly put them in trucks. Some may think that this has created a loss of employment, but these workers were underpaid for such jobs, and in an economic aspect, these machines are more profitable in the long term, in terms of investment and time.

L’Aventure du Sucre, a museum dedicated to the history and development of sugar cane in Mauritius, has a shop where special sugars can be tasted and purchased. Do not hesitate to contact the Marguery Exclusive Villas’ concierge for any activity booking.