Sugar Tech

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 213–227 | Cite as

China: An emerging sugar super power

  • Yang-rui Li
Review Article


Sugarcane production in China has more than 3000 years of history. Prior to 1840 A.D., China dominated the world trade of cane sugar but the sugar industry became very week since then due to long time of wars and unstable social conditions. It has been developing rapidly again since early 1980s. China has become the third largest sugar producer in the world with 10.02 million tons of sugar output in 2003/04 and sugarcane contributed to 94.0% of the total sugar output. Guangxi is the biggest sugarcane growers Province in China, and it produced 5.88 tons of sugar which occupied 58.4% of the total sugar and 62.3% of the cane sugar in China, respectively in 2003/04. The other two key sugarcane and cane sugar producing Provinces in China are Yuanan and Guangdong Province. The capitation consumption of sugar was 6.9 kg/person in 2002, and it has increased rapidly in the recent years. Drought is the most important constraint for the sugarcane production, and other key limitations include low temperature, frost, insect pests (mainly borers, aphids, thripid and scarabs), diseases (mainly ratoon stunting disease, mosaic, pineapple and smut), weeds and rats. China has established its unique effective technologies for sugarcane production especially for the production in upland which occupied 90% of the total sugarcane growing area in the country. The millable cane productivity remained 60 to 70 tons/ha in China in the recent years. More than 100 sugarcane varieties have been bred and released for commercial sugarcane production since 1950s, and the variety GT11, bred by the Guangxi Sugarcane Research Institute and released since December 1980, boasts the biggest commercialised area, that is, 1.33 million hectares of land area since 1985. The ratoon crops occupied about two third of the total sugarcane growing area, Inappropriate field management and diseases like ratoon stunting disease and mosaic are the most important factors that limit the commercial ratoon cane productivity at present. The milling duration is from mid November to the end of April next year, and chemical ripening has been used to increase the sucrose % cane at early milling stage. The intercropping is very popular in the sugarcane fields with various crops such as vegetables, melons, pulse crops, potato, corn, mushrooms and green manure crops.


Sugarcane sugar industry consumption production productivity constraint farming cultivation post-harvest management intercropping 


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Copyright information

© Society for Sugar Research & Promotion 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Guangxi Academy of Agricultural SciencesNanning, GuangxiP.R. China

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