Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology

Living Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

World Markets for Sugar and Starch: Status and Prospects

  • Verena WolfEmail author
  • Marlen Haß
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-2493-6_997-1


Sugar Demand Global Sugar Sugar Production Cereal Market Marketing Year 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Marketing year

The marketing year usually starts with the harvest of the crop and is a 12-month period. It varies across products and countries.

Net exports

Net exports are exports minus imports and reflect the trade balance of a country or region.

Raw sugar

Raw sugar is any sugar not suitable for human consumption without further refinement.

Refined sugar

Refined sugar means centrifugal, crystalline sugar which is not to be further refined or improved in quality (including “brown” sugars). Refined sugar is suitable for human consumption.

Raw value (rv)

A term used internationally to express raw and refined sugar on a common basis. The raw value describes the amount of raw sugar equivalent to a given amount of refined sugar (1 unit of raw sugar = 0.92 units of white sugar).

Staple food

Staple foods are foods which are the basic of everyday diets in a region and contribute to a major share of energy intake of the population.

Stocks-to-use ratio

The stocks-to-use ratio is calculated as ending stocks in a marketing year divided by domestic use in that marketing year. Thus the stocks-to-use ratio is an indicator for the tightness of a market.

White value (wv)

A term used internationally to express raw and refined sugar on a common basis. The white value is the amount of white (refined) sugar equivalent to a given volume of raw sugar (1 unit of white sugar = 1.07 units of raw sugar).


Yield is production divided by area harvested. The higher the yield, the more productive the area.

Definition of the Subject

The agricultural sector provides the feedstock for sugar and starch production. Among all agriculture products, cereals and tubers have the highest starch content, while sugarcane and sugar beet have the highest sugar content. Due to their nutritional value, these crops are predominantly used for food consumption. In the case of cereals, feed consumption is also an important usage even exceeding food consumption for some cereals in some regions. In the case of sugar beets, mainly beet pulp, which is a by-product from sugar production, is used as feed. Furthermore, sugar and starch crops or their ingredients are used as a raw material for the production of energy (typically fuels) and/or other industrial products (e.g., bio-based plastics). Regardless of their further usage, sugar and starch crops compete with other agricultural crops for inputs, especially for land but also for labor and capital. Land is a limiting factor of agricultural production. Agricultural area competes with other uses of area, i.e., urbanization, infrastructure, forestation, conservation areas, and other uses of area. Agricultural area is increasing in some countries, while agricultural area stays relatively constant or even declines in others. Additionally, the potential to further increase agricultural area differs between countries and regions and depends on natural conditions but also on policy regulations. Agricultural markets are strongly influenced by weather conditions on the supply side and by population and income developments on the demand side. Agricultural products, especially grains and sugar, are traded worldwide, and hence their markets need to be viewed in a global context. Prices depend on the relationship between demand and supply, i.e., a surplus of an agricultural product decreases its price, while a shortage can strongly increase its price, especially if supplies of substitutable products are also tight. Additionally, the agricultural market is influenced by governments through different policies and regulations. The promotion of biofuels to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is one recent form of policy influencing agricultural markets. Several countries or regions, e.g., Brazil, the United States (USA), and the European Union (EU), have set targets or mandates for the use of biofuels within the transport sector. These targets can be achieved through the use of biodiesel, biogas from biomass, and bioethanol, either from starch crops, sugar crops, or lignocellulosic biomass.


Crops are produced, consumed, and traded on agricultural markets. The market price brings supply and demand into equilibrium, i.e., a situation where the quantity produced equals the quantity consumed. Today, agricultural crop production is dominated by the few crops which are economically most profitable.

In contrast to most other products, agricultural crops are produced in cycles lasting from a few months to over several years, but in most cases annual cycles are realized. As a result, agricultural producers cannot immediately react to changing market conditions, e.g., shifts in demand. The duration of agricultural production cycles is crop and region specific. First, farmers seed the crop. Second, the crop grows, and the farmer supports this phase by, e.g., applying fertilizers and crop protection when necessary. In semiarid or arid regions with a low average rainfall, some agricultural crops are irrigated to achieve higher and more stable yields. However, irrigation is neither always technically feasible nor always economically profitable. Third, the crop ripens and can be harvested. Depending on the climate and the vegetation period of a crop, one or two crops are grown and harvested once a year on a field. For example, in the EU, the USA, and Australia, one crop per year is most common, while in Brazil and Argentina, the double cropping system is widespread. Other crops are perennial, e.g., sugarcane can be harvested up to ten times before the field is replanted.

The production volume of agricultural crops depends on the area attributed to a crop and the yields achieved. Farmers decide what crop to plant based on the expected profit and various other aspects, e.g., rotation cycle, demand for own livestock production, and tradition. Crop production has become, and is still becoming, more and more efficient, i.e., higher yields are achieved with a given level of inputs or even with less input. These efficiency gains can be attributed to different inventions and improvements over time, e.g., breeding, mechanization, fertilizers, and crop protection.

Breeding techniques have improved over time and are still improving. Improvements range from selection through to crossbreeding to genetic engineering resulting in different varieties and species of a crop with desired properties, e.g., larger grains or roots, higher sugar content, adaptation to different climates, and resistance against diseases, fungi, and chemicals. Production systems have changed and are still changing, from manual work through to machinery use to precision farming. Furthermore, yield improvements were and are achieved through the development and application of mineral fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and other additives. In the different regions, management practices determine the actually achieved yields by the choice of either more or less extensive or intensive production systems. These vary in the use of seeds, fertilizer, crop protection, machinery, water management, and tillage.

Nevertheless, yields also vary considerably between years and are influenced mostly by different weather conditions during the growing season. Extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, hurricanes, and tsunamis can completely destroy a harvest in a region. Temperature and precipitation strongly influence the local yields as well. Hence, regional variations are stronger than global variations. Additionally, the various agricultural crops have different demands regarding temperature and precipitation during their different stages of growth, i.e., favorable weather conditions for one crop could mean unfavorable weather conditions for another crop. Climate change will further influence yield developments and production patterns across the world.

Yields differ between countries and regions, not only because of the varieties sown, the production systems applied, the weather, and the climate but also due to the soil quality and other biophysical properties which favor or constrain the growth and determine the maximum achievable yield.

The institutional environment is another factor causing yields to differ between countries. Institutional environment comprises general infrastructure as well as the general economic and political framework. Further, different regulations and policies concerning crop production in general hamper or stimulate yield increases such as regulations about the planting of genetically modified (GM) crops, the use of fertilizers, and the application of crop protection. Additionally, some countries, e.g., Russia and Ukraine, have unused potential in terms of yield and area, while others face constraints to further increases in area and/or yields, e.g., some countries in the EU.

Agricultural crops are mainly used for food and feed consumption. Demand for food increases with population growth, while feed demand increases with income growth leading to higher consumption of animal products, such as dairy products, eggs, and meat. Demand for specific crops further changes due to changes in dietary preferences.

Additionally, crops are used in various industries, e.g., pharmaceutical, textile, fuel, and energy industry. These different uses can compete against or complement each other. On the one hand, the use of food and feed crops to produce ethanol for fuel purposes led to a debate about whether food and feed crops should be used as fuel at all. This food versus fuel debate led to new research about using other biomass resources and the non-food and non-feed parts of these crops as input for ethanol production (compare the respective chapters within this book, e.g., [22], [23]). On the other hand, ethanol production from corn creates a valuable by-product used as feed, namely, Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS).

Agricultural crops are traded as raw material or in processed forms. Historically, their trade volume increased strongly through improvements in transport and storage properties, work diversification, and trade liberalization. As most agricultural crops are more or less homogenous and the consumer often does not distinguish between the origin of the crop, trade patterns change over time. Importers prefer to buy the cheapest goods first.

World market prices for agricultural goods depend on several factors, mainly production or expected production, current or expected stock levels, and new demands. Local prices further depend on the exchange rate of the national currency to other currencies, mostly the US dollar (US$), and other factors specific for a country or region, e.g., infrastructure, price regulations, and other policies. A weak national currency compared with the US$ makes the country more competitive in the export markets. Speculation on future commodity markets is often blamed to influence agricultural prices as well. However, the research community is inconclusive about its influence. Short-term price changes due to speculation might occur, while speculation does not have an influence on long-term price developments where fundamental factors play a more important role.

Over the last century, agricultural markets have become more complex through increased global and inter-sectoral interdependencies. Additionally, the agricultural sector is influenced by governmental regulations because of concerns about food security, food safety, and the environment. In order to ensure food security, some countries, e.g., Russia, aim to achieve self-sufficiency in major food products, and others have strategic food or grain reserves to supply their population for several weeks or month in a crisis, e.g., Saudi Arabia or Germany. Food safety is ensured through sanitary and phytosanitary standards. These standards vary among countries and apply within the country and at the border. Further, these standards are often trade barriers, and certifications at country levels are required in order to be able to export to a specific market, e.g., only a few EU member states are allowed to export barley to China. Agricultural production depends on the environment but also changes it. Several countries curtail negative changes from agriculture on the environment, e.g., nitrate in groundwater due to too much manure on the fields, or promote positive influences, e.g., organic farming. These concerns, in addition to other political aims, led and lead to different policies and regulations, e.g., taxes, subsidies, tariffs, tariff rate quotas, trade bans, guaranteed prices, production quotas, and rules for application and use of fertilizers, crop protection products, and seeds. In developed countries, agricultural production is often supported to ensure production and income levels of farmers, while in developing countries it is often taxed to generate income for the state.

The following sections describe the markets for sugar and starch, as well as the main feedstock markets. Their developments are described with a focus on the development in the current millennium.

Sugar Markets

The world sugar market is one of the most intensely regulated agricultural markets [40]. Import tariffs on sugar are often higher than for other agricultural products, and many countries support sugar production by domestic policies such as institutional prices, coupled subsidies, and production quotas. Depending on the climatic conditions, sugar is either produced from sugarcane or sugar beet. While sugar beets are grown mostly in the temperate zones of the Northern hemisphere, sugarcane is the major feedstock for sugar production in tropical countries. With the exception of Brazil, which uses around 50% of its sugarcane production to produce ethanol, most countries grow sugar crops to produce sugar for food consumption. Besides its usage as food and feedstock for ethanol production, sugar is also used in industrial processes, e.g., in yeast plants or within the pharmaceutical industry. The following paragraphs describe the development and current status of the global sugar market focusing on prices, production, consumption, and trade.

Figure 1 depicts the monthly world market price development of white and raw sugar since 2000. For both products future contracts are used as an indicator for the pricing of physical sugar. While the future contract of white sugar is traded at the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE, Contract No. 407), the Sugar Contract No. 11, traded at the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT), is the word benchmark contract for raw sugar pricing. Usually both prices show a parallel development with the white sugar price being on average 80 US$/t higher than the price of raw sugar. This difference can be explained by the fact that converting raw sugar into refined sugar involves costs; i.e., the long-term average of the margin between both prices can be used as an indicator of refining costs [1]. Furthermore, the difference between the white and raw sugar price, the so-called white sugar premium, reflects the availability of raw and white sugar on the market. Changes in the availability of white sugar relative to raw sugar cause the white sugar premium to increase or to decline [10]. For example, the decision of Brazilian sugar producers to decrease the share of sugarcane allocated to ethanol production will result in higher raw sugar production and thus exports. Since Brazil is by far the largest producer and exporter of raw sugar, higher raw sugar exports or even the expectation of higher raw sugar exports of Brazil causes the raw sugar price to fall, which increases the white sugar premium and therefore the incentive for producers around the globe to import raw sugar for refining. Higher import demand of raw sugar as well as higher reexports of white sugar will, in turn, lead to convergences of both sugar prices to their long-term equilibrium.
Fig. 1

Global stocks-to-use ratio and monthly world market prices of white sugar (LIFFE, contract no. 407) and raw sugar (NYBOT, contract no. 11) (2000–2017), USDA [49, 50]

As Fig. 1 reveals, world sugar prices showed large variations in the past. Prices peaked in 2006 as well as in the period 2009–2011. After 2011 international sugar prices started to fall for a period of four years, before beginning to recover in 2015. The main driver of fluctuations in prices is the availability of sugar on the market. Shortages in supply caused by unfavorable weather conditions as well as increases in demand due to income and population growth can explain the price peaks observed on the global sugar market. A widely used indicator to examine the interaction between domestic supply and demand is the stocks-to-use ratio [24]. It indicates the level of carryover stock as a percentage of the total demand. As shown in Fig. 1, there is a general negative relationship between the stocks-to-use ratio and the development of sugar world market prices. A low stocks-to-use ratio is associated with high world market prices and vice versa [24]. In 2008/2009 and 2009/2010, for example, global production of sugar was not sufficient to cover global consumption leading to a significant decline in the global stocks-to-use ratio and strong increase in prices. In the years afterward, world sugar production exceeded global demand resulting in a significant increase of global sugar stocks, and world sugar prices started to fall for five consecutive years. In 2015/2016, the sugar market moved back into a deficit phase and the negative trend in world sugar prices reversed. The tight market situation is likely to continue in 2016/2017, and international sugar prices are expected to remain at a high level [38].


Over the last 50 years, cane sugar production has grown steadily at 2.6%/a (average 1959/1960–1961/1962 to average 2014/2015–2016/2017), whereas beet sugar production remained more or less constant (Fig. 2). As a result, the increase in global sugar production of 2.1%/a since 1960 has been mainly driven by an expansion of the production of cane sugar. The share of cane sugar in total sugar production increased over time from 60% to 79%. Since the raw material base for sugar production is determined by the climatic condition in a country, most countries produce sugar either from sugarcane or sugar beet with a few exceptions: The EU, China, the USA, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, Japan, and Morocco grow both, sugarcane and sugar beet. Among these countries the size of the beet sugar and cane sugar sector is comparable in the USA, Egypt, and Iran, while the EU, Japan, and Morocco produce mainly beet sugar. In China and Pakistan, sugarcane is the dominant feedstock for sugar production.
Fig. 2

Development of world cane and beet sugar production (1959/1960–2016/2017), USDA [50]

Both sugar crops are also used to produce ethanol. Moreover, ethanol can be produced from molasses, which is a by-product of the sugar production process. On a global scale, sugar crops and molasses have a share of approximately 30% in total ethanol production (average 2013–2015, Fig. 3). While Brazil is the world’s leading producer of ethanol based on sugarcane, the EU has the largest sugar beet-based ethanol industry. However, as on a global scale, the EU produces most ethanol from cereals (70%). In 2015 sugar beet and molasses had a share of approximately 20% in total EU ethanol production (Fig. 3).
Fig. 3

Share of ethanol produced from each feedstock, OECD/FAO and ePure [14, 37]

Brazil is not only the world’s largest producer of sugarcane-based ethanol and the world’s second largest producer of total ethanol, the country is also the world’s leading sugar producer with a share of 22% in global sugar production in 2016/2017 (Fig. 4). Besides Brazil, main sugar producers are India and the European Union showing different development paths (Fig. 5).
Fig. 4

Development of global sugar production differentiated by major producing countries (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50] EU-15 (2000/2001–2003/2004), EU-25 (2004/2005–2005/2006), EU-27 (2006/2007–2012/2013), EU-28 (2013/2014–2016/2017)

Fig. 5

Development of sugar production of Brazil, India, and the European Union (1959/1960–2016/2017), USDA [50] EU-15 (1960/1961–2003/2004), EU-25 (2004/2005–2005/2006), EU-27 (2006/2007–2012/2013), EU-28 (2013/2014–2016/2017)

The Brazilian sugar industry started to grow rapidly at the beginning of the 1990s with a growth rate of 6.6%/a between 1990 and 2014. Since the turn of the century, the country is the world’s largest sugar producer with a production quantity of on average 36 million t/a over the last 3 years. Yield growth of sugarcane had been moderate with a growth rate of 0.8%/a between 1990 and 2014, while the sugarcane area cultivated for producing sugar and ethanol increased by 3.7%/a [47]. Therefore, the growth of Brazil’s sugar industry had been mainly driven by area expansion and to lesser extent by yield improvements. Since 2009/2010 production growth of Brazilian sugar industry slowed down due to lower investments in sugar mills and lower replanting rates for sugarcane following the financial crisis of 2008 [36]. However, the sector is currently recovering, and Brazil’s sugar output is expected to increase in the next season as well as over the coming years [33, 38].


The Brazilian sugar industry started to grow rapidly at the beginning of the 1990s with a growth rate of 6.6%/a between 1990 and 2014. Since the turn of the century, the country is the world’s largest sugar producer with a production quantity of on average 36 million t/a over the last 3 years. Yield growth of sugarcane had been moderate with a growth rate of 0.8%/a between 1990 and 2014, while the sugarcane area cultivated for producing sugar and ethanol increased by 3.7%/a [47]. Therefore, the growth of Brazil’s sugar industry had been mainly driven by area expansion and to lesser extent by yield improvements. Since 2009/2010 production growth of Brazilian sugar industry slowed down due to lower investments in sugar mills and lower replanting rates for sugarcane following the financial crisis of 2008 [36]. However, the sector is currently recovering, and Brazil’s sugar output is expected to increase in the next season as well as over the coming years [33, 38].

One major factor determining the competitiveness of the Brazilian sugar industry and thus the production decision of Brazil’s sugar producers is the development of exchange rate between the local currency, the Brasilian real (R$), and the US$. While a devaluation of the R$ against the US$ increases the competitiveness of Brazil’s sugar exports on the world market, an appreciation of the R$ against the US$ makes sugar imports from Brazil more expensive. Furthermore, the development of the ratio of the world sugar price to the domestic ethanol price – which is closely related to the crude oil price – affects the decision of Brazil’s sugar mills to allocate a higher or lower share of sugarcane to sugar or ethanol production. Figure 6 depicts the development of the sugar and ethanol allocation rates as well as the development of sugarcane production in the South-Central region, which is with a share of 90% in total sugarcane production, the major sugar-producing region of Brazil. Within the last decade, the sugar allocation rate varied between 40% and 50%. Besides the relative competitiveness of the two end products, sugar and ethanol, the allocation rate is also determined by policies such as ethanol mandates that require a certain blend of ethanol to gas oil. The legislation was introduced in 1977 and allows the Brazilian government to set the ethanol blend in a range of 18–27.5%. Since 2016 the ethanol blend has been set to 27%, i.e., very close to the upper limit [9].
Fig. 6

Use of sugarcane in the South-Central region of Brazil, UNICA [46]


The world’s second largest sugar-producing country is India with a share in global sugar production of 14% in 2016/2017 [50]. In India, the sugar sector is the second largest agro-based industry and therefore of high importance to the Indian economy [41]. The major production regions are Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, reaching together a combined market share of 62% (avg. 2014/2015–2016/2017). Other important sugar-producing states in India are Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana [4]. India’s sugar sector started to grow steadily at the beginning of the 1970s by 2.9%/a, and by the turn of the century, the country was the world’s leading sugar producer (Fig. 5). The increase in production was driven by a constant expansion of the sugarcane area harvested by, on average, 1.9%/a, supported by a growth rate of sugarcane yields of 1.3%/a. However, since 2000 sugarcane yields stabilized at around 70 t/(ha a). In contrast, the overall trend in sugarcane area harvested has still been positive with an increase of on average 1.1%/a. Nevertheless, the development of the sugarcane area harvested is characterized by strong variations. For example, from 2005 to 2007, the sugarcane area harvested increased by 41% from 3.6 to 5.2 million ha but dropped sharply afterward to 4.2 million ha in 2010 [21]. These huge fluctuations in India’s sugar production are primarily policy driven. To support the income of India’s sugarcane growers, the government sets support prices for sugarcane that give an incentive to increase production. As a result, the market becomes regularly oversupplied, domestic market prices of sugar fall, and sugar mills reduce their sugar output and thus demand for sugarcane. Moreover, the shift away from sugarcane production is occasionally exacerbated by high support prices of alternative crops, such as wheat and rice [30]. Since sugarcane is a perennial plant, the market moves back into a deficit position, sugar market price increases, and the production cycle starts again.

In 2012 the Indian government recommended a 5% mandatory blending of ethanol with gasoline, which is partially reached in years of sugar surplus but unfilled when the sugar market is in deficit [3]. However, India does not produce ethanol directly from sugarcane. The ethanol industry is based on sugar molasses, which is a by-product of the sugar production process. As in the case of sugar, the ethanol market is regulated by administrative ethanol prices set by the government, which are revised depending on the economic situation of the sector [4].

European Union (EU)

Over a period of almost 30 years (1971–1997), the EU (EU-15) was the world’s leading sugar producer. However, since the turn of the century, Brazil has outpaced the EU, and following a major reform of its sugar market policy in 2006, the EU is the world’s third largest sugar-producing country, despite the enlargement of the community in 2004 (EU-25), 2007 (EU-27), and 2013 (EU-28) [50].

In 1968, the Common Market Organization for sugar was introduced, and the EU sugar sector started to grow strongly, supported by a wide variety of policy measures. Administrated prices and production quotas combined with high import tariffs and export subsidies ensured a high and stable price level on the domestic market. Between 1960 and 1980, EU sugar production increased by 6.2%/a from 4.4 to 14.7 million t/a raw value (rv) [50]. The growth of the sugar sector was mainly driven by significant expansion of the beet area harvested (+2.8%/a) accompanied by a steady increase in sugar beet yields (+1.0%/a). Within the next 20 years, beet yields continued to grow at the same rate, but the beet area harvested stabilized resulting in much slower growth of the EU sugar sector [18]. Between 1980 and 2000, EU sugar production increased only by 1%/a to 18.1 million t/a rv [50]. With the enlargement of the EU in 2004, sugar production peaked in 2005 and 2006 but dropped afterward following a major reform of the EU sugar market policy in 2006. Under the reform, administrative prices of sugar and sugar beet were cut by 36% and 39.7%, respectively, and the EU sugar production quota was reduced by 5 million t/a white value (wv) [15]. In recent years EU sugar production has been around 16 million t/a rv (average 2014–2016). In addition, the EU produces ethanol from sugar beet. The quantity of beet used for ethanol production is equivalent to approximately 1.5 million t/a rv. [16, 50].

Major sugar-producing countries in the EU are France, Germany, and Poland with a combined market share of 60% in total EU sugar production. The steady growth in sugar beet yields observed over the previous 40 years has slowed down slightly since the turn of the century, but the trend in yields is still positive with a growth rate of 0.6%/a between 2000 and 2015 [19].

However, in October 2017 the EU sugar market enters a new era. Production quotas, the administrative price for sugar beet as well as an export limit imposed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) for EU sugar exports to third countries will be abolished. For the first years without the quota system and export restrictions in place, all large EU sugar companies have announced plans to increase production by 20–40% [31]. Conversely, the quantity of sugar beet grown for ethanol production is expected to decline for two reasons: First, as long as production quotas were in place, only out-of-quota beets were used for ethanol production, and prices for these sugar beets were considerably lower than prices for sugar beets grown under the quota. After the abolition of the quota system in October 2017, both prices will converge, i.e., prices for sugar beets used as a feedstock for ethanol production are likely to increase. Second, prices of crops that compete against sugar beet as a feedstock for ethanol production, i.e., mostly grains, are expected to remain low. Consequently market conditions for the use of sugar beets as a feedstock for ethanol production are expected to be unfavorable over the coming years. Overall, market volatility, i.e., variation in production and prices, is likely to increase in the first years of the post-quota period until the EU sugar market finds a new long-term equilibrium [42].


Over the past 50 years, global consumption of sugar has grown steadily by a rate of 2.4%/a between 1960 and 2015. In 2015/2016, world sugar demand totaled to 170 million t rv, and there are currently no indications that the overall positive trend in global sugar consumption is levelling off. However, increases in sugar demand are not uniform across regions (Fig. 7).
Fig. 7

Development of sugar consumption by continent (1959/1960–2016/2017), USDA [50]

Sugar demand is especially increasing in Asian and African countries. With a growth rate of 4.5%/a and 4.3%/a, respectively, over the past 50 years, the increase in sugar demand of these two continents has been well above the global average of 2.4%/a. Conversely, sugar consumption in Europe has been stagnating or even decreasing in recent years. Since 1960, the increase in European sugar demand has been only 0.7%/a. In America and Oceania, the increase in sugar consumption has been moderate with an annual growth rate of 1.7%/a and 1.8%/a, which is below the global average of 2.4% [50].

Main factors that influence sugar consumption are population growth, per capita income, the ratio of the sugar price to alternative sweeteners, as well as changes in consumer preferences, i.e., dietary habits. Moreover, in recent years governments across the globe have introduced policies, such as sugar taxes, to reduce sugar intake per capita [32].

Figure 8 depicts the development of sugar demand in the major sugar-consuming countries as well as the rest of the word since 2000/2001. Compared to global sugar production, consumption of sugar is more dispersed. According to the most recent data, the three largest sugar consumers are India, the EU, and China with India surpassing the EU in 1995/1996 (Fig. 9). Together these three regions have a share in global sugar consumption of 36% in 2016/2017, while the three largest sugar-producing countries have a share of 46% in global sugar production.
Fig. 8

Development of global sugar consumption differentiated by major consuming countries (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50] EU-15 (2000/2001–2003/2004), EU-25 (2004/2005–2005/2006), EU-27 (2006/2007–2012/2013), EU-28 (2013/2014–2016/2017)

Fig. 9

Development of sugar consumption of India, the European Union, and China (1959/1960–2016/2017), USDA [50] EU-15 (1960/1961–2003/2004), EU-25 (2004/2005–2005/2006), EU-27 (2006/2007–2012/2013), EU-28 (2013/2014–2016/2017)


Sugar consumption in India has been growing continuously since 1960 by a growth rate of 4.5%/a, and since the mid-1990s, India has been the world’s leading sugar-consuming country (Fig. 9). The main driver of sugar consumption growth in India is population growth, but per capita consumption of sugar is increasing as well. While consumption per capita at the beginning of the 1960s was only around 5 kg/(person a rv), nowadays Indian people consume approximately 20 kg/(person a rv) [50, 52]. However, this is still below the global average of almost 25 kg/(person a rv) [32]. The increase in per capita consumption can be primarily explained by changes in dietary habits toward more processed and sugar-rich products such as soft drinks, jams, sweets, ready-made pastries, and fast food. Moreover India’s stable economy and rising incomes contribute to the upward trend in sugar demand of the country. One special characteristic of India’s sugar consumption is that sugar is not only consumed as refined sugar but also as traditional sugar types, namely, khandsari and gur. Khandsari is a local type of centrifugal low-recovery sugar prepared by open-pan evaporation. Gur is a lumpy non-centrifugal brown sugar. India accounts for 58% of global production of these traditional sugars, which are primarily consumed locally as table top or sold to local manufacturers [4, 11]. Figure 10 depicts the utilization of the sugarcane crop for the different sugar types in India.
Fig. 10

Utilization of Indian sugarcane crop (2000/2001–2017/2018), Aradhey [4]

In recent years approximately 15–30% of the sugarcane crop has been used for the production of traditional sugars. However, over the last three decades, gur production remained rather stable, while sugar production increased revealing a progressive shift of India’s sugar consumptions away from traditional sugars to white sugar. While per capita consumption of white sugar has been growing by 2.5%/a over the last 30 years, per capita consumption of gur has been declining at a rate of 2.9%/a [11]. Nowadays, gur and khandsari are still used mostly in villages and by people living in rural areas. From a nutritional perspective, the substitution of traditional sugar by white sugar has some disadvantages, because gur and khandsari provide more vitamins, iron, and calcium compared to refined sugar.

European Union

Unlike the fast-growing Indian sugar market, sugar consumption in the EU is only marginally increasing or even stagnating, albeit at a high level. Europeans consume almost twice as much sugar as Indians with an average per capita consumption of 36.4 kg/(person a rv) and 20.1 kg/(person a rv), respectively (average 2012/2013–2014/2015). Before the 1990s EU sugar consumption was growing, especially at the beginning of the 1970s, at an average rate of 2.6%/a (Fig. 9). But in the years afterward, EU sugar demand reached a saturation point reflecting a minimal rate of population increase combined with low-income elasticities of sugar demand [32], and by the mid-1990s, the EU lost its position as the world’s leading sugar-consuming country. This even did not change in 2004, when ten additional countries joined the EU, although EU sugar consumption jumped from around 14 million t rv before the EU enlargement to a level of 17 million t rv afterward. However, since the Eastern European expansion of the EU, overall sugar demand is slightly increasing, mostly driven by consumption growth in some Southern and Eastern member states. In all other EU member states, absolute sugar demand has been stagnating or even falling in recent years due to health concerns and declining population numbers [32].

With the expiry of the EU sugar quota system in 2017, the slightly positive trend in total EU sugar consumption could change, because isoglucose production quotas will be abolished as well. Isoglucose (also known as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)) is a starch-based sweetener that competes with sugar in products such as soft drinks, fresh dairy products, and breakfast cereals. With the end of the EU quota system, isoglucose is expected to gain market shares at the expense of EU sugar consumption. Substitution of sugar by isoglucose is expected to be most significant in EU regions with a sugar deficit and grain surplus, i.e., especially in Southern and Eastern member states, which experienced the largest growth in sugar consumption in recent years [17, 25, 43].


Similar to the growth in sugar consumption of India, China’s sugar demand has been steadily increasing since 1960 (Fig. 9). The growth in absolute and per capita demand of sugar was even more significant than in India, with a growth rate of 5.2%/a and 3.8%/a between 1960 and 2015, respectively. Sugar demand of China started to grow strongly especially after the turn of the century and the gradual liberalization of the economy, while in earlier years, sugar consumption developed rather sluggishly [32]. In 2016/2017, Chinese sugar demand totaled to 17.5 million t rv, only 1.3 million t rv below the sugar consumption of the EU. Nevertheless, per capita consumption in China is with only 12.8 kg/(person a rv), still one of the lowest in the world and far below the global average of around 25 kg/(person a rv) [50, 52]. This is partly due to the fact that the market share of starched-based sweeteners is relatively high compared to other countries. In 2016, production of HFCS reached 3.8 million t, whereof 3.3 million t were consumed domestically resulting in a market share of HFCS in total caloric sweetener consumption of 16%. However, as domestic demand of starch-based sweeteners from the food and beverage sector is largely saturated because the industry has already reached its maximum level of sugar replacement use, no further increase of HFCS demand at the expense of sugar is expected in the coming years. The strong growth in sugar demand is likely to continue, despite the slowdown in economic growth observed in China in recent years. Key factors contributing to this development are the increasing demand for high-sugar content processed foods such as bakery deserts and frozen pastries, the continued urbanization, as well as the shift from a “one-child” to a “two-child” policy [6].


In contrast to sugar beet and sugarcane, which are virtually not traded at all across borders, sugar is widely traded on the world market. Every year approximately 25–33% of global sugar production is exported and imported (Fig. 11). This is a higher share as compared to other important agriculture products such as cereals. Consistent with the continuous growth in world sugar production, the global trade volume of sugar increased over time from 17 million t rv in 1966/1967 to 54 million t rv in 2016/2017. This corresponds to a growth rate of 2.2%/a. Before the 1980s sugar was traded almost exclusively as raw sugar with the EU-15 being the only large exporter of refined sugar. But in subsequent years, until the mid-1990s, the share of refined sugar in total trade volume increased significantly, since a growing number of countries started to export white sugar. Over the next decade from 1996/1997 to 2006/2007, the share of refined sugar in total trade stabilized but then started to fall. This was mainly due to the fact that exports of the EU, the world’s largest exporter of refined sugar for nearly half of a century, had been restricted by an export limit of the WTO . However, as part of a major policy reform, the export restriction will be lifted in 2017/2018, giving the EU the opportunity to increase refined sugar exports significantly in the years to come.
Fig. 11

Development of global sugar trade differentiated by raw and refined sugar (1966/1967–2016/2017), USDA [50]

Figures 12 and 13 depict the development of the global sugar trade differentiated by major sugar-exporting and sugar-importing countries between 2000/2001 and 2016/2017. Global sugar exports are highly concentrated, and concentration in exports has been increasing over time, especially since the turn of the century. While in 2000/2001 the top five sugar exporters (Brazil, EU-15, Thailand, Australia, Cuba) had a share in global exports of 44%, the five countries belonging to the group of the world’s largest exporters in 2016/2017 (Brazil, Thailand, Australia, Guatemala, India) had a market share of 79% (Fig. 12). For about 30 years (1960–1990), Cuba was the world’s leading sugar exporter. However, the Cuban sugar industry was highly subsidized and inefficient. Over time, the cost of producing Cuban sugar became substantially higher than in other major sugar-producing countries, and at the beginning of the 1990s, the Cuban sugar industry collapsed. At the same time, the Brazilian sugar industry started its impressive success story on the global sugar market [44]. The market share of Brazil in global sugar exports has increased rapidly since the mid-1990s, and in recent years Brazil accounts for the bulk of sugar exports with a share in global exports of around 50% (Fig. 12). But the growth of the Brazilian sugar industry slowed down since 2009/2010. Nevertheless, the sector is currently recovering, and Brazil’s sugar exports are expected to increase by another 0.5–1.3 million t rv in 2017/2018. With a share of 80%, the majority of Brazilian sugar exports are raw sugar, whereas the reminder is exported as refined sugar. Main destinations of Brazilian sugar exports are China, India, and Algeria [8, 51].
Fig. 12

Development of global sugar exports differentiated by major exporting countries (2000/2001–2016/2017), EU-15 (2000/2001–2003/2004), EU-25 (2004/2005–2005/2006), EU-27 (2006/2007–2012/2013), EU-28 (2013/2014–2016/2017), USDA [50]

Fig. 13

Development of global sugar imports differentiated by major importing countries (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50] EU-15 (2000/2001–2003/2004), EU-25 (2004/2005–2005/2006), EU-27 (2006/2007–2012/2013), EU-28 (2013/2014–2016/2017)

Compared to global sugar exports, world imports of sugar are less concentrated (Fig. 13). In 2016/2017 the top 5 sugar-importing countries (China, Indonesia, EU-28, United Arab. Emirates, United States) accounted for 34% of global sugar imports. But this hasn’t always been the case. Some 50 years ago, in 1966/1967, the five largest sugar-importing countries at that time (USA, United Kingdom (UK), Japan, Soviet Union, Canada) had a market share of 71%. In the following years, the concentration of global sugar imports declined as with the growing economic development, more and more countries started to import sugar. Nevertheless, over the last decade, a slightly increasing tendency toward a greater concentration of world sugar imports can be observed. For many years the USA (1960–1975) and the Soviet Union/Russia (1976–2004) were the world’s leading importers of sugar. But since the turn of the century, the share of Asian countries in global sugar imports has been constantly increasing. Since 2011/2012 China is the world’s largest sugar-importing country. The main driver behind this development is a growth in sugar demand of Asian countries that is stronger than the expansion in sugar production. Moreover, Russian sugar imports have substantially declined in recent years (Fig. 13). This is because the Russian government is seeking to attain self-sufficiency for agricultural products and has established a system of border protection measures for sugar to ensure a high and stable domestic price level. Under the protection of high-import barriers, the Russian sugar production has been increasing significantly since the turn of the century resulting in import substitution and a continual decline in sugar imports from other countries [37, 45]. This negative trend in Russian sugar imports is expected to continue in the years to come, while the development of China’s sugar imports is less certain. To protect local sugar producers, the Chinese government has recently (May 2017) adopted safeguard measures against imports of sugar, which will remain in place for three years. Until 2020 all imports of sugar exceeding the official annual quota level agreed under WTO commitments will be subject to an additional “safeguard” charge, which will likely result in a decline in sugar imports of China in the next years [6, 7, 34].

Starch Feedstock Markets

The starch-based feedstocks discussed here can be used for bioethanol production. These starch-based feedstocks are cereals, e.g., corn, wheat, and barley, and tubers, e.g., potatoes and cassava. Currently, bioethanol based on starch crops is produced in many countries. However, the main use of cereals and tubers is direct food and feed use. In 2013, 36% and 43% of cereals were used as food and feed, respectively [20]. In the case of starchy roots, i.e., starch-rich tubers, 54% and 21% were used as food and feed in 2013, respectively [20]. Additionally, starch – extracted from the mentioned feedstocks – is used in beverages, food, and feed products as well as in a variety of other industrial products, e.g., textiles, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.

Cereal Markets

Global cereal production reached nearly 2.6 billion t in the marketing year 2016/2017. (If not stated otherwise all data referred to in the cereals chapter is from the Producer, Supply and Distribution dataset of the USDA [54].) Globally, the main four cereals produced are corn, wheat, rice, and barley accounting for over 90% of total cereal production. Other cereals are, e.g., sorghum, millet, oats, rye, and triticale; they can play important roles in certain regions only. Global cereal production increased 40% from 2000/2001 to 2016/2017. This increase was due to increases in average yields by 31% and area expansion by 7%.

However, cereal production varies between years due to yield variations which are caused by different weather conditions during the growing season as explained in the introduction. For example, the harvest in 2012/2013 was relatively low with 2.271 billion t followed by a record harvest of 2.477 billion t 1 year later, i.e., a difference of 200 million t which is around twice as much as the rice production in India.

In contrast to production, global cereal consumption followed a smoother upward trend during the last 17 years, increasing on average 2%/a and reaching 2.539 billion t in 2016/2017. Increase in cereal consumption is due to global growth of population and income. While population growth increases demand for cereal food use, income growth increases demand for feed use because consumption of meat, dairy products, and other livestock products rises with income. Additionally, new uses of cereals, e.g., for biofuel production, increase consumption levels.

Overall trade strongly increased, and exports reached 417 million t, i.e., 16% of total cereal production, in 2016/2017 compared with 230 million t, i.e., 12% of total cereal production, in 2000/2001. This increase can be attributed to changes in policies such as increased trade liberalization and reduced market support to specific agricultural products in major producing regions as well as product specialization.

Export markets are often dominated by a few countries which are not necessarily the main producers of the respective crop. In contrast, the countries importing cereals are numerous. In some cases, major producers are net importers of a crop, i.e., they import more than they export.

Similar to sugar stocks and prices, cereal stock and price levels are influenced by different developments of production and consumption. If production increases more strongly than consumption, prices are likely to drop, and stocks are built up. If consumption increases more strongly than production, prices are likely to increase, and stocks are reduced. Prices are also strongly influenced by expected volume of production for the next marketing year, especially before harvest in major producing regions. If a good harvest is expected, prices are likely to drop, while if a bad harvest is expected, prices are likely to increase. Available stocks of the previous year further influence the magnitude of price changes, i.e., with low stocks prices can increase sharply if bad harvests are anticipated. Hence, the global stocks-to-use ratio is correlated with prices and is a good indicator for expected price changes.

Figure 14 shows the monthly development of export prices for corn, wheat, rice, and barley on important, selected exporting ports for each cereal. These reflect the global market situation of a crop and are often regarded as world market prices influencing local prices in turn. In recent years, the sharpest increase of cereal prices was observed in 2007/2008 when stocks for major crops were low, oil prices high, and the global financial crisis occurred. In the rice market, the supply situation was not tight enough to explain the sharp rise in prices which was aggravated by trade restrictions of major exporting countries, e.g., Vietnam and India followed by others, and panic buying by some large importing countries, e.g., the Philippines, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Iran [12]. After the strong price increase, rice prices dropped again but stayed at a higher level than before the price increase. Since 2013/2014, cereal prices show a decline because of successively very good global harvests leading to replenished stocks. High prices are generally a concern for consumers as they might not be able to purchase enough to satisfy their demand, while low prices are a threat to producers as they might not be able to cover their production cost. This effect is especially sensitive for staple crops which are often types of cereals but differ between regions.
Fig. 14

Monthly market prices of rice, wheat, barley, and corn in US$/t fob (free on board (fob), i.e., including transport costs up to the ship), ICG [26]

The following sections discuss the most important four cereal markets in detail focusing on production, consumption, and trade. Additionally, an emphasis is placed upon global markets and the most important countries in these markets.

Corn Markets

The corn plant has different varieties which are harvested either as whole plant, corncobs, or grain maize. The whole plant is used for silage, the corncob for human consumption, and the grain maize for feed, food, industrial, and seed use. Here only the development of the grain maize market is described.

Production. In the past 17 years, global corn production grew by 80%, i.e., from 592 million t in 2000/2001 to 1.065 billion t in 2016/2017 (Fig. 15). The two main producers are the USA and China, which produced together nearly 60% of all corn in 2016/2017. China, Brazil, and Argentina nearly doubled their production during this period. Also Russia and Ukraine strongly increased their production in this time period, and they have belonged to the ten largest producers of corn since 2014/2015 and 2008/2009, respectively. In the EU, corn production grew the least.
Fig. 15

Development of global corn production differentiated by major producing countries (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

The different developments of corn production have several reasons. Additional domestic demand, e.g., in the USA for ethanol production, and global demand of corn in general grew and stimulated production.

Area harvested of corn increased from 2000/2001 to 2016/2017 by over 33% (Fig. 16), with main expansions in Russia, Ukraine, Argentina, and China, while the EU and Mexico even decreased their corn area. Yields increased by 35% in that time with main increases in Russia, Ukraine, and Brazil. Highest average corn yields, i.e., above 10 t/(ha a), are achieved in the USA, while the global 5-year average (2012–2016) was 5.5 t/(ha a) (Fig. 16). Of the ten largest producers, India, Mexico, South Africa, Russia, and Brazil achieved 5-year average yields below the global average ranging from 2.6 t/(ha a) in India to 5.1 t/(ha a) in Brazil.
Fig. 16

Development of global corn area differentiated by major producing countries and average global yield (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

Consumption. The major producers of corn are also its major consumers, followed by Mexico and India (Fig. 17). The primary use of corn is region-dependent. In the USA, corn is mostly used to produce ethanol to be used as a transportation fuel, with the by-product DDGS used, e.g., as cattle feed. In South Africa, Venezuela, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Paraguay, the distribution of corn is approximately equally divided between food and feed use. In Africa, corn is predominantly used as food, while it is used primarily as animal feed in the other regions. Consumption of corn increases if prices are low or have fallen, e.g., in 2013/2014, compared to other cereal prices and own previous prices. In contrast, consumption is not increasing or lower as in previous periods if prices are high, e.g., in 2012/2013. This is especially true for corn used as feed because it can easily be substituted by other cereals, and hence price differences play an important role in choosing feed components for compound feed producers and livestock owners.
Fig. 17

Development of global corn consumption differentiated by major consuming countries and average global stocks-to-use ratio (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

Globally, the stocks-to-use ratio declined from a high value of 24% in 2001/2002 to 14% in 2010/2011 and increased again to nearly 22% in 2016/2017. In line with the increase of the stocks-to-use ratio, prices have continued their slight downward trend since 2013/2014 accompanied by record global corn harvests in three of the four past years. Since 2008, corn stocks are highest in China amounting to over 100 million t in 2016/2017 which accounts for 45% of global stocks in 2016/2017 or 44% of Chinese corn consumption. This unsustainable accumulation of stocks is due to China’s policies to support corn production. Until 2015/2016, China set a floor price for corn which was well above prices for imported corn and other feed grains. As a result, production but also imports grew stronger than consumption, and stocks increased. The floor price for corn was abolished in early 2016 and replaced by a new support system to corn production, leading to falling prices for corn in China [2]. Efforts of the Chinese government to reduce corn stocks might disrupt global corn markets in the coming years.

Trade. Corn trade has grown similarly to corn production resulting in an approximately constant share of 13% of exports in total production. Of the large producers, the USA and Brazil are net-export countries of corn, while the EU is a net importer. China turned from a net exporter to a net importer in 2009, accompanied by the aforementioned stock increase. The corn export market is dominated by four countries which exported more than 85% of all corn in 2016/2017 (Fig. 18). Exports can vary considerably depending on production, e.g., the low corn production in the USA in 2012/2013 and in Brazil in 2015/2016 resulted in very low exports in these years for the respective countries, and overall exports were reduced by 18% and 16% compared to previous years, respectively (Fig. 18). In the export market, the USA dominates with exports staying at around 46 million t/a in the past 17 years, but its share in overall exports declined from 64% in 2000/2001 to 36% in 2016/2017. Ukraine, Brazil, and Argentina increased their exports remarkably over the last 17 years. Ukraine and Argentina produce corn mainly for global markets with exporting around 70% of their entire production in 2016/2017, while the USA and Brazil exported 15% and 35% of their production in 2016/2017, respectively.
Fig. 18

Development of global corn exports differentiated by major exporting countries (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

Japan imports all the corn it consumes and is the major corn importer showing a slight declining tendency in recent years (Fig. 19). (Differences in total imports to total exports in a marketing year can be explained by the different country-specific marketing years in the USDA database, e.g., the corn marketing year in Brazil is March 2016–February 2017 for 2015/2016 while it is October 2015–September 2016 in Japan.) In 2000, Japan imported over 95% of its corn from the USA [48]. Japan’s trade pattern changed slightly so that only 80% was imported from the USA and 15% from Brazil in 2015 [48]. Other large importing countries are Mexico, the EU, South Korea, Egypt, Iran, and Vietnam, which all have increased imports over time. Mexico’s corn imports originate mainly from the USA, while the EU imports mainly originate from Ukraine.
Fig. 19

Development of global corn imports differentiated by major importing countries (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

Outlook. Corn markets have increased strongly in the past years, but their expansion might slow down. On the one hand, corn markets will continue to grow because of growing food and feed use as well as its higher yields and profits over other cereals in many regions. On the other hand, the use of corn as feedstock for ethanol production seems to be limited as several countries have revised their biofuel policies limiting the use of corn – and other crops – as input to biofuel production, e.g., the USA has limited conventional biofuels, i.e., mainly corn-based ethanol, to 56.8 billion l for 2015–2022, and the EU has set a maximum level of biofuel based on energy crops grown on agricultural land, i.e., including corn, to 7% of fuel used in the transport sector by 2020. The change in China’s corn policy and the aim to reduce corn stock might disrupt global markets temporarily. Further increases in production can be expected to occur especially in Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine, and Russia.

Wheat Markets

Production. Global wheat production was less dynamic than corn and grew only by 29% throughout the last 17 years, i.e., from 583 million t in 2000/2001 to 753 million t in 2016/2017 (Fig. 20). The seven largest producers produced around three quarters of overall global wheat in 2016/2017. Production grew least in the USA and most in Russia.
Fig. 20

Development of global wheat production differentiated by major producing countries (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

This production increase is primarily due to increases in yields as area harvested increased only slightly (Fig. 21). The USA and Canada decreased their wheat area over time, while Russia and India increased it substantially between 2000/2001 and 2016/2017, i.e., by 5.7 million ha or 27% and 2.7 million ha or 10%, respectively. Wheat area in the other countries stayed relatively stable with yearly fluctuations. One extreme example is the Ukraine in 2003, where wheat area was less than 50% of the previous year. Due to a cold winter, many winter wheat plants did not survive, and the fields were newly sown with other crops in the spring.
Fig. 21

Development of global wheat area differentiated by major producing countries and average global yield (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

Global wheat yields increased 25% between 2001/2002 and 2016/2017. Main increases, i.e., above 40%, occurred in Russia, Australia, Canada, and China. The global 5-year average yield (2012–2016) was 3.3 t/(ha a). Highest 5-year average yields are achieved in the EU and China with 5.6 t/(ha a) and 5.2 t/(ha a), respectively. Maximum yields in parts of the EU can be above 10 t/(ha a) due to favorable climatic conditions and intensive production systems. In contrast, Russia achieved 5-year average yields of 2.3 t/(ha a) because of less favorable climatic conditions and less intensive production systems, e.g., in the Siberian region. Additionally, yield variations over the years differ between regions. Yield variations are higher in those regions which depend strongly on the right weather conditions and regularly face extreme weather events such as droughts or floods than those which irrigate their crops or have less varying temperatures and rainfall. To stress this further, two examples can be compared. On the one hand, Australia had a drought in 2002/2003 and 2006/2007 which led to a wheat yield of only 0.92 t/(ha a) but had a record yield due to very favorable weather conditions of 2.71 t/(ha a) in 2016/2017, i.e., a difference of 200%. On the other hand, Egypt had a yield variation of maximally 23% in the period from 2000/2001 to 2016/2017 because they irrigate the crop and, hence, are less dependent on rainfall.

Consumption. The five major producers of wheat are also its major consumers, followed by Pakistan and Egypt in 2016/2017 (Fig. 22). Nearly 80% of wheat is consumed as food globally. Only Belarus and Thailand use wheat more for feed purposes than food. In the EU, Australia, the Philippines, and Israel, wheat is consumed approximately equally as food and feed. Wheat consumption is mainly driven by population growth and consequently increased the most in the countries where wheat is an important staple food and population has grown, e.g., Egypt, India, and Pakistan. The stocks-to-use ratio for wheat is higher than for corn as several countries support and/or store wheat for food security reasons, e.g., China, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. The stocks-to-use ratio declined from 2001/2002 to 2007/2008 reaching its lowest value of 21% accompanied with strong price increases from June 2007 to March 2008. Afterward, the stocks-to-use ratio increased due to higher increases in production than consumption. As in the case of corn, China stored the largest amount of wheat resulting in shares of 23–43% of total stocks between 2001/2002 and 2016/2017. China’s policy of a guaranteed floor price leads to more domestic production but also to more imports of wheat and hence accumulation of stocks.
Fig. 22

Development of global wheat consumption differentiated by major consuming countries and average global stocks-to-use ratio (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

Trade. China and India, two large producers and consumers, traditionally consume the wheat they produce, i.e., imports or exports are used to balance their production. Because of their size, this can have effects on the trade markets. For example, in 2006/2007, India was the third largest importer of wheat with 6.7 million t and the seventh largest exporter in 2012/2013 with 6.8 million t. The other large producers are net exporters of wheat. Further important exporters are Ukraine, Argentina, and Kazakhstan (Fig. 23). The eight largest exporters trade around 90% of the exported wheat. Wheat trade has grown more strongly than production resulting in increasing shares of exports in total production, i.e., from 17% in 2000/2001 to 24% in 2016/2017. Major growth in exports has been observed for Russia and Ukraine which exported only small quantities in 2000/2001 and had together a share of 25% in total exports in 2016/2017. Australia, Canada, Ukraine, and Argentina exported more than 60% of their production and hence depend strongly on the demand from other countries.
Fig. 23

Development of global wheat exports differentiated by major exporting countries (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

The competitiveness of an exporting region depends strongly on the exchange rate of the national currency to the US$. Additionally, production costs and transport costs as well as wheat quality influence competitiveness in the wheat market.

A large number of countries import wheat. In 2016/2017, 43 countries imported more than 1 million t, and the main importers were Egypt, Indonesia, Algeria, and Brazil. The Southeast Asian countries import all their consumed wheat as do Japan and South Korea. The imports of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa depend partially on their own harvest and hence can vary more. South American countries – except the exporter Argentina – traditionally import large shares of their wheat consumption as well. Generally, importers buy the cheapest wheat first if the quality is sufficient. Nevertheless, main trade flows between certain regions can be observed. For example, the EU exports large quantities to the Middle East and North Africa because of the proximity but also because of the high quality of wheat, while Australia’s main exports go to Asia. Brazil imports predominantly from South and North America, while Egypt’s largest imports in 2016 came from Russia and Ukraine [48].

Outlook. Wheat production increased mainly because of yield increase, i.e., closing yield gaps and developing new varieties. This might continue. Potential for further increases and partial area expansion is seen in Russia, Ukraine, and Argentina. However, this depends also on the profitability of wheat in comparison with other crops. Wheat is a traditional staple food in many regions and subject to several policies, e.g., intervention prices, tariffs, consumer subsides, trade quotas, and bans as well as support to domestic production and ensured reserves through national storage. Hence, population growth in these regions induces wheat growth, and changes in current policies will influence the wheat markets in the future. For example, Egypt supports domestic wheat production, the government imports wheat, and consumers have access to subsidized traditional baladi bread made from wheat. China guarantees a floor price for domestic wheat and has large storage facilities. In both countries, these policies are claimed to be implemented for food security reasons. However, these policies are costly and partially inefficient and might be subject to change. One example of policy change is Saudi Arabia, which stopped its program to support domestic wheat production in 2015/2016 and satisfies its demand now by imports undertaken by a governmental organization. In the EU, further demand for wheat can occur through isoglucose production, while demand for ethanol production seems limited.

Rice Markets

Production. Rice production is concentrated in Asia and grew by around 20% within the last 17 years, i.e., from 399 million t in 2000/2001 to 482 million t in 2016/2017 (Fig. 24). The main two producers are China and India with 145 million t and 107 million t in 2016/2017, respectively. Chinese rice production grew quite steadily over the period. In contrast, rice production in India depends largely on the rainfall during monsoon season. Hence, production fluctuates more than in China. Droughts in 2002/2003 and 2009/2010 resulted in reduced area harvested and low yields. Of the six largest producers, Bangladesh and Vietnam increased their production most, i.e., by 39% and 33% over the past 17 years, respectively.
Fig. 24

Development of global rice production differentiated by major producing countries (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

The production increase is due to area and yield increases averaging globally 6% and 14%, respectively. Bangladesh and Indonesia increased rice area by 0.9 million ha and 0.6 million ha in the past 17 years, respectively, while the other large producers changed area by less than 0.3 million ha (Fig. 25). Average global rice yields fluctuate less than other cereal yields between harvests and reached 3 t/(ha a) in 2016/2017. Of the large producers, China achieved highest 5-year average rice yields of 4.8 t/(ha a) (2012–2016), while Thailand achieved lowest 5-year average rice yields of only 1.8 t/(ha a). India’s 5-year average yield lies by 2.4 t/(ha a), i.e., below the global average.
Fig. 25

Development of global rice area differentiated by major producing countries and average global yield (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

Consumption. The largest producers of rice are also its largest consumers. Rice is predominantly used for food consumption and is an important staple food in Asian but also some African countries. China and India, the two countries with the world’s largest population, consume together more than 50% of global rice (Fig. 26). In 2003/2004–2007/2008, the stocks-to-use ratio was below 20%, causing slight increases in the price, but this has not been the main reason for the sharp price increase in 2008. Afterward, the stocks-to-use ratio increased to 25% until 2016/2017 representing a level last observed in 2002/2003.
Fig. 26

Development of global rice consumption differentiated by major consuming countries and average global stocks-to-use ratio (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

Trade. Less than 10% of rice produced is traded, i.e., 41 million t in 2016/2017. The five largest exporters traded 80% of all exported rice in 2016/2017 (Fig. 27). Thailand, Pakistan, and the USA are export-oriented producers of rice, i.e., they export more than 50% of their production, while India and Vietnam only exported 9% and 20% of their production in 2016/2017, respectively. From 2000/2001 to 2016/2017, exports have increased by 73% with the major growth occurring from 2009/2010 onwards. Since 2011/2012, India has surpassed Thailand as the main exporter of rice . Vietnam and Pakistan increased their exports, while the exports of the USA are relatively stable.
Fig. 27

Development of global rice exports differentiated by major exporting countries (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

As in the case of wheat, a large number of countries import rice, i.e., 24 countries imported more than 0.5 million t in 2016/2017, accounting for only 67% of all imports. China, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, i.e., three of the largest rice producers, are net importers of rice. However, they only import a small share of their consumption, i.e., less than 5% on average. Indonesia and Bangladesh balance their variations in production with imports, i.e., imports fluctuate strongly and are higher in the years with lower production. China increased its imports over time and is the largest importer of rice with 5 million t in 2016/2017, followed by Nigeria and the EU which satisfy around 50% of their consumption through imports. Other countries import their complete consumption, e.g., Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

The exporting countries supply rice to many destinations. India exported the largest quantities to the Middle East and Africa in 2015 [48]. Thailand supplies mostly Asian and African countries with rice, while the USA supplies American countries. The largest importers, namely, China, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and the Ivory Coast, satisfy their demands with imports from 15 to 25 different countries, with the exception of the EU which imported from more than 70 nations in 2015 [48].

Outlook. Rice is the least traded cereal, and hence consumption occurs mainly in the producing countries. It is also a main staple crop in Asian and African countries subject to different domestic policies, e.g., to ensure food security.

Barley Markets

Production. Compared to the other cereal markets described, the barley market is the smallest and also least growing in terms of production. Two varieties of barley can be distinguished: malted barley and feed barley. Malted barley needs to fulfill certain quality requirements, e.g., low protein content, so that it can be used for beer production. Therefore, a price premium is paid. If the quality is not sufficient, malted barley can still be used as feed barley. Feed barley, wheat, and corn substitute each other well as feed in the livestock sector. Growing corn or wheat is often more profitable than growing barley due to higher yields. Hence, barley is grown often in regions where corn production is less profitable or not feasible due to climatic conditions because barley has a shorter vegetation period and requires lower temperatures than corn. In the past 17 years, around 140 million t/a of barley were harvested with slight fluctuations, i.e., the largest harvest was 155 million t in 2008/2009 and the lowest 123 million t in 2010/2011 (Fig. 28). Barley production is concentrated in the EU which produces over 40% of global barely. Other main producers are Russia, Australia, Ukraine, and Canada (Fig. 28). In the past 17 years, barley production expanded in Russia, Australia, and Ukraine, while it decreased in Canada by over 30%.
Fig. 28

Development of global barley production differentiated by major producing countries (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

Area harvested of barley decreased from 2000/2001 to 2016/2017 by nearly 10% (Fig. 29). Between 2008/2009 and 2010/2011, global barley area was reduced by 14% as farmers reacted to the low prices and high stocks in 2009/2010. In the following years, barley area did not recover to previous levels. Of the large producers, only Australia increased its barley area by 16%. The largest decrease in area can be observed in Canada (-50%). In the EU, area reduction of 12% was counterbalanced by yield growth of 14%. Globally, yield for barley increased by 22%, i.e., less than for corn and wheat. The EU realized 5-year highest average barley yields of 4.8 t/(ha a) (2012–2016) followed by Canada with 3.5 t/(ha a). The global 5-year average was 2.9 t/(ha a), i.e., much lower than the yields for wheat and corn.
Fig. 29

Development of global barley area differentiated by major producing countries and average global yield (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

Consumption. The EU is the major consumer of barley followed by Russia and Saudi Arabia with a share of 37%, 9%, and 7% in total consumption in 2016/2017, respectively (Fig. 30). Nearly 70% of barley is consumed as feed globally. In most Asian countries and Europe, feed use dominates consumption, while in America (except Canada) and Africa (except Northern Africa), food use, i.e., mainly beer consumption, dominates. The barley stocks-to-use ratio has the lowest levels in the observed period of the four crops. This low level is due to the fact that barley is not a staple food and mainly used as feed use, i.e., can be substituted better by other crops and is not subject to food security policies. In 2006/2007, the stocks-to-use ratio reached its lowest value of 15% which increased barley prices. Until 2009/2010, stocks-to-use ratio increased again to a high level of 26% resulting in low prices of barley, partially even lower than corn prices. In 2010/2011 barley consumption dropped less than barley production resulting in a drop of the stocks-to-use ratio and increase in prices. Since 2012/2013, prices for barley declined similar to corn and wheat prices even though the stocks-to-use ratio only increased slightly and less than for corn or wheat.
Fig. 30

Development of global barley consumption differentiated by major consuming countries and average global stocks-to-use ratio (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

Trade. As in the case of wheat, the export market is dominated by a few countries. The five largest exporters trade around 90% of barley exports (Fig. 31). Barley trade has grown by 62% from 17 million t in 2001/2002 to 27 million t in 2016/2017 with the strongest growth occurring since 2011/2012. Barley exports are very volatile depending on the surplus production of the respective exporting countries. Hence, either the EU, Australia, or Ukraine is the largest exporter in a specific marketing year. Australia, Argentina, and Ukraine strongly depend on global markets as they exported more than 50% of their production in 2016/2017. The EU and Russia consume most of their produced barley and exported only 9% and 17% of their production in 2016/2017.
Fig. 31

Development of global barley exports differentiated by major exporting countries (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

The seven main barley importers have imported nearly 80% of all traded barley in 2016/2017 which makes the barley import market much more concentrated compared to other cereal import markets. Additionally, Saudi Arabia and China are by far the largest importers, i.e., they imported 60% of all traded barley in 2016/2017. Saudi Arabia uses barley purely as feed. Barley is preferred over other feed grains because of its traditional use and good storing property. Saudi Arabia’s imports were reliable and slightly rising in recent years (Fig. 32). China, the second largest importer of barley, makes its feed barley imports dependent on prices of barley, corn, and sorghum. Hence imports are subject to large changes between the years. Additionally, China only imports barley from certified countries which currently do not include all major exporters, e.g., Russia. Among the EU countries, only Denmark, France, Finland, and the UK are currently allowed to export to China [28]. Saudi Arabia imported most of its barley from Russia, the EU, and Ukraine in 2015, while China imported most from Australia, France, Canada, and Ukraine [48].
Fig. 32

Development of global barley imports differentiated by major importing countries (2000/2001–2016/2017), USDA [50]

Outlook. The barley market is the least attractive cereal market in terms of production growth as barley has low yields and is highly substitutable with other – often more profitable – feedstocks. Additionally, demand from Saudi Arabia might decline because the Saudi Arabian government is aiming at reducing the use of raw feed barley and replacing it with compound feed which is better digested and has a higher feed conversion ratio [35]. Increases in barley demand can come from increasing global beer consumption.

Tuber Markets

Tubers, especially starchy roots, are another source for starch and hence can possibly be used for ethanol production. (If not stated otherwise, all data referred to in the tuber chapter is from the sub-databases Production, Trade and Food Balance of FAOSTAT [24].) The two main starchy roots are potato and cassava accounting for nearly 80% of total starchy root production. Other starchy roots are, e.g., sweet potato and yams. Starchy root production increased from 1999 to 2013 by 25% to 811 million t. Starchy roots can neither be stored nor transported as easily as cereals because they are more perishable, and their water content is higher.

Potato Markets

Production. Potato production grew by 15% from 2000 to 2013, i.e., from 327 million t to 374 million t. China and the EU are the largest producers of potato followed by India, Russia, Ukraine, and the USA (Fig. 33). These six countries grew more than 70% of the total potato production in 2013. China and India have increased their production by 45% and 81% in the time span, respectively. This is due to consumption changes, i.e., diet diversification, because potatoes are seen as vegetables and hence an addition to cereal-based diets. In the EU, potato production decreased by 35%. In the EU and in other developed countries, potato is a staple food and substitute to cereals in the diet. Hence, the reduction in potato production is due to demand changes, i.e., diets diversified and other starch-rich crops, especially cereals, gained attractiveness. In Russia and Ukraine, potatoes are predominantly produced by households for own consumption and selling at the nearest market. Globally, yields grew on average by 19% between 2000 and 2013, and area stayed relatively stable. All major producers increased their yields by more than 20% except the USA which were already on a very high yield level in 2000 achieving 40 t/(ha a). While China and India increased their potato area in the period, all other major producers reduced it. Average global 5-year potato yields (2009–2013) were 18 t/(ha a) with Russia, Ukraine, and China below that level. Highest 5-year average yields of potatoes, i.e., nearly 46 t/(ha a), were realized in the USA. The EU achieved yields of 30 t/(ha a).
Fig. 33

Development of global potato production differentiated by major producing countries (2000/2001–2016/2017), FAO [20]

Consumption. Consumption of potatoes grew similarly to production in the countries as only a small share of potatoes and its products is traded, i.e., less than 8% in 2013. Potatoes are mainly used as food but also to produce alcohol for human consumption. Further, starch from potato is used in processed foods and several industrial processes.

Trade . Potato and potato product trade is dominated by the EU, with the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium being the largest net-exporting countries and with the UK, Italy, and Spain being the largest net-importing countries in 2013. Further net exporters are Canada, Egypt, Pakistan, and Argentina. For example, Egypt exports over 80% of its potatoes unprocessed to supply the EU with early-season potatoes. Further net importers are Japan, Russia, and Mexico. Japan imports mainly from the USA but also from China and the EU.

Outlook. While potato is still an important staple food in many regions, its importance is declining in these regions as diets shift away from potato toward other crops, e.g., in the EU. Additionally, if income rises, households may shift away from producing their own potato to buying potatoes or replacing it by other food products, e.g., in Ukraine or Russia. In other regions, potatoes diversify diets, and consumption might further increase with income growth and shifts in the diets. Shifts in diets and income growth are likely to be the main driver of potato growth or decline. Fuel ethanol production from potatoes is technically possible but currently not economically profitable as alcohol production is more profitable. However, there is the potential to use the potato peel for ethanol production, i.e., the waste when processing potatoes [5].

Cassava Markets

Production. Cassava production grew by 60% from 2000 to 2013, i.e., from 159 million t to 256 million t. The largest producer of cassava is Nigeria, followed by Thailand and Indonesia (Fig. 34). Around 63% of total cassava was grown in the six largest producing countries in 2013. The largest growth can be observed in Angola, which nearly tripled production from 2000 to 2013, while Brazil’s cassava production varied around 24 million t/a in the period.
Fig. 34

Development of global cassava production differentiated by major producing countries (2000/2001–2016/2017), FAO [20]

Globally, yields grew on average by 7% between 2000 and 2013 and area by 38%. Thailand, Angola, and Ghana expanded their cassava production through yield increases and area expansion, while Nigeria expanded it through area increase and Indonesia through yield increase only. Average global 5-year cassava yields (2009–2013) were nearly 12 t/(ha a) with Nigeria achieving only 10 t/(ha a), while Thailand and Indonesia achieved yields above 20 t/(ha a). Highest yields of cassava, i.e., 36 t/(ha a), were realized in India which is the tenth largest cassava producer.

Consumption. As in the case of potatoes, cassava is mainly consumed in the country in which it is produced. Exceptions are Thailand and Vietnam, which are exporting countries, as well as China, the Philippines, and Malaysia, which are importing countries. Cassava is mainly used as food and is an important staple food in parts of Africa. Additionally, cassava starch is used in food and for industrial purposes such as ethanol, pharma, textile, and other industries [29]. Further, cassava is used as feed in the form of dried chips. The five largest consumers, i.e., Nigeria, China, Indonesia, Brazil, and Angola, use cassava predominantly as feed, except Indonesia which uses it mostly as food. China and Indonesia additionally attribute a large share of cassava consumption to industrial and other uses including ethanol production, i.e., 24% and 42% in 2013, respectively.

Trade. The export market is dominated by Thailand which has a share on total exports of 70% in 2013. Vietnam, as the second largest exporter, has a share of 25% in total exports in 2013. While Thailand doubled exports from 2000 to 2013, Vietnam increased exports from 0.4 to 9 million t. The import market is dominated by China which has a share on total imports of 79% in 2013. South Korea as the second largest importer has a share of 5% on total imports in 2013. Hence, the world trade is dominated by Thailand exporting cassava in the form of dried cassava and starch from cassava to China. On average, Thailand exported nearly three quarters of their production in the years 2000–2013, while China’s imports grew steadily over the same period, i.e., from a share of 26% imported cassava products in total consumption in 2000 to 86% in 2013.

Outlook. The cassava market grew strongly in the past, and further potential is seen especially in Africa [29]. Additionally, further growth can be expected in Asia as China uses cassava – besides other feedstocks – to expand its ethanol production [27].

Future Directions

The future development of agricultural markets depends heavily on a number of factors, such as weather conditions, innovation and inventions, institutional and economic environment, market and trade policies, production costs, dietary preferences, changes in overall demand, and currency exchange rates. Depending on assumptions about the mentioned factors and approximations of these factors through measurable indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP) growth, world crude oil price, and population growth, several institutions provide long-term projections of the future development of global or regional agricultural markets, e.g., [13, 17, 38, 39]. These projections strongly depend on their underlying assumptions and have a high degree of uncertainty. Further, they show general trends without capturing short-term shocks to the markets, e.g., economic crisis, war, and extreme weather conditions. The most commonly used annually published long-term projection is the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook [38] with a global coverage. Based on the latest OECD-FAO projection [38], the following two paragraphs describe future prospects for the world markets of sugar and starch.

Sugar Markets

Currently the global sugar market is characterized by a supply shortage that led to relatively high world market prices in 2016/2017. For the next year, this price level is likely to persist, since for another year, global sugar production is expected to be not sufficient to cover global sugar demand. However, in the medium-term perspective, high world market price will give an incentive to sugar producers around the globe to increase production resulting in a higher availability of sugar on the market and a decline in international sugar prices. Against this background world sugar production is projected to increase by 24% to 210 million t/a over the next decade (average 2014 till 2016–2026) [38]. This corresponds to a growth rate of global sugar production of 1.7%/a. While the increase in cane sugar production will be driven by both area expansion and yield improvements, the growth in beet sugar production is foreseen to come solely from higher yields with the sugar beet area harvested declining over the next decade by 3%. The increase in sugar production will take place mainly in developing countries with an increase in production of 2.14%/a, while sugar production in developed countries is expected to grow at a much slower pace with only 0.06%/a. Regions that will contribute most to the overall increase in sugar production are Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. On a global scale, the share of sugarcane allocated to ethanol production is foreseen to increase slightly, while the share of sugar beet devoted to producing ethanol is expected to fall from 5% to 3.5%. The decline in sugar beet use for ethanol production is mainly due to the end of the EU sugar quota system that will likely lead to higher prices for sugar beet used as a feedstock for ethanol production, reducing the relative competitiveness of sugar beet in the overall ethanol feedstock mix. Global consumption of sugar is projected to grow at a slightly lower rate compared to the previous decade. World sugar demand will reach 203 million t in 2026 corresponding to a growth rate of 1.75%/a. The lower growth in global sugar consumption will be mainly driven by a slight slowdown in population growth as well as a sluggish development of the global economy. However, demand in developing countries is foreseen to continue its rapid growth driven by rising incomes, urbanization, and growing populations. In contrast, many developed countries are projected to show a decline in per capita demand of sugar influenced by health concerns of excess sugar consumption. Global sugar exports are expected to remain highly concentrated with Brazil maintaining its position as the world’s leading exporting country of sugar accounting for 48% of global sugar exports. Overall sugar will continue to be highly traded with a share of exports in global sugar production of 33%. In contrast to global sugar exports, imports of sugar are foreseen to remain diversified, despite the increasingly fast-growing sugar demand of the world’s leading importing countries China and Indonesia, as more countries will start to import sugar over the next decade.

Starch Markets

Cereal production in the past 4 years was high which led to increased global stocks and decreasing prices. Thus stable real prices for wheat, corn, and barley are projected, while prices of rice even decrease in real terms [38]. Global production is expected to further increase, however, at a slower pace than observed in the past. While global cereal yields are the main driver for production growth and are expected to increase by 11% over the next 10 years, area expansion will become a restricting factor for cereal production. Overall land for agriculture is projected to grow less than historically observed due to degraded areas and land use for other purposes. Cereal area is projected to grow even less compared to other crop areas. Food consumption is projected to increase moderately, while per capita consumption for wheat and corn even decreases. Increase in wheat consumption is mainly driven by population growth, while increase in corn consumption is mainly driven by feed demand. Rice consumption increases due to population and income growth in developing countries, mostly in Asia and Africa. Trade in cereals is expected to grow further with trade flows in cereals, except rice, from developed countries to developing countries.

The markets of tubers are not explicitly covered in the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook. Nevertheless, cassava demand for biofuel production is expected to grow in Thailand and China [38].

Further Considerations

In considering an agricultural crop as raw material for industrial products, certain attention needs to be given to the specific circumstances and properties of crops:
  • First, food demand, followed by feed demand, is and will be the main purpose of agricultural crops. The competition between different uses of crops led, e.g., to the food versus fuel debate where the question is raised whether it is ethical to use food crops as input for fuel production when people are starving. In times of tight markets and high prices, the fear of not satisfying the food demand of a nation leads to strong governmental intervention in the markets, which can occur in the future and disrupt markets.

  • Second, most agricultural crops are produced once a year, and production volumes vary considerably between the years as yields are heavily dependent on the weather during the vegetation period. Hence, a stable and constant flow of crops as input cannot be ensured.

  • Third, agricultural crops are often perishable, and specific attention needs to be given to storing these products. Cereals and sugar are less perishable than sugar beet, sugarcane, or tubers. Nevertheless, storage is costly.

  • Fourth, the competition for land, i.e., an input to agricultural production, between agriculture, forestry, environmental protection, urbanization, and other uses or purposes, can restrict the expansion of agricultural production.


Primary Literature

  1. 1.
    Ahlfeld H (2007) Die Änderung der Außenhandelsposition der EU und die Rückwirkungen auf den Weltzuckermarkt. Sugar Ind/Zuckerindustrie, 132(10), 770–777. Available at: http://w2.zuckertechniker.de/uploads/media/2007-770-777.pdf. Accessed June 2017Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Anderson-Sprecher A, JI J (2016) China – peoples republic of grain and feed annual. China’s decision to end corn floor price shakes grain and feed market. GAIN report – grain and feed annual, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Available at: gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Grain%20and%20Feed%20Annual_Beijing_China%20-%20Peoples%20Republic%20of_4-8-2016.pdf. Accessed June 2017
  3. 3.
    Aradhey A (2015) India. GAIN report – biofuels annual, No. IN5079, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Available at: https://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Biofuels%20Annual_New%20Delhi_India_7-1-2015.pdf. Accessed June 2017
  4. 4.
    Aradhey A (2017) India. GAIN report – sugar annual, No. IN7045, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Available at: https://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Sugar%20Annual_New%20Delhi_India_4-10-2017.pdf. Accessed June 2017
  5. 5.
    Arapoglou D, Varzakas T, Vlyssides A, Israilides C (2010) Ethanol production from potato peel waste (PPW). Waste Manag 30(10):1898–1902.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2010.04.017. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956053X10002448. Accessed
  6. 6.
    ATO (2017) China sugar production to rise, but uncertainty remains. GAIN report – sugar annual, No. CH176006, U. S. Agricultural Trade Office (ATO), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Available at: https://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Sugar%20Annual_Beijing_China%20-%20Peoples%20Republic%20of_4-13-2017.pdf. Accessed June 2017
  7. 7.
    ATO (2017) Sugar update 2017. GAIN report – sugar annual, No. RS1724, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Available at: https://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Sugar%20Annual_Moscow_Russian%20Federation_4-14-2017.pdf. Accessed June 2017
  8. 8.
    Barros S (2016) Brazil. GAIN report – sugar annual, No. BR17001, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Available at: https://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Sugar%20Annual_Sao%20Paulo%20ATO_Brazil_4-19-2017.pdf. Accessed June 2017
  9. 9.
    Barros S (2016) Brazil: annual report 2016. GAIN report – biofuels annual, No. BR16009, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Available at: https://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Biofuels%20Annual_Sao%20Paulo%20ATO_Brazil_8-12-2016.pdf. Accessed June 2017
  10. 10.
    BCR (2003) The CRB commodity yearbook 2003. Bureau commodity research. Wiley, HobokenGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Bhardwaj A (2013) The Gur & Khandsari Industry & its practical impact on Indian Sugar Consumption level. Presentation at the Meeting of the World Association of beet & cane growers, New Delhi 25th March, 2013. Available at: http://www.indiansugar.com/uploads/WABCG-_25th_March_2013-_Amit_Bhardwaj-_ISMA.pdf. Accessed June 2017
  12. 12.
    Childs N, Kiawu J (2009) Factors behind the rise in global rice prices in 2008. Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. Available at: https://www.google.de/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiKieXd2IPVAhXSJVAKHXyMCMgQFggmMAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ers.usda.gov%2Fwebdocs%2Fpublications%2F38489%2F13518_rcs09d01_1_.pdf%3Fv%3D41056&usg=AFQjCNEWFUm-wAe-PyrO1eB2t_R78Ra_jQ. Accessed 28 June 2017
  13. 13.
    Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (ERS USDA) (2017) 2017 international long-term projections to 2026. Available at: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/international-baseline-data.aspx#26290
  14. 14.
    ePURE (2016) Share of European renewable ethanol produced from each feedstock. European renewable ethanol association, Brussels. Available at: http://epure.org/resources/statistics/?year=2016. Accessed June 2017
  15. 15.
    EU-COM (2009) CAP reform: commission welcomes success of EU sugar reform as restructuring process concludes. European Commission, Brussels. Available at: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-09-366_en.htm?locale=en. Accessed June 2017Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    EU-COM (2016) Balance sheet. European Commission, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI), Brussels. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/sugar/balance-sheets_en. Accessed June 2017Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    EU-COM (2016) Prospects for agricultural markets and income in the EU 2016–2026, Brussels. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/markets-and-prices/medium-term-outlook/index_en.htm. Accessed June 2017
  18. 18.
    EUROSTAT (2017) Crop statistics – historical data (1955–1999) (apro_acs_h). Statistical office of the European Union, Luxembourg. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/data/database. Accessed June 2017
  19. 19.
    EUROSTAT (2017) Crop statistics (from 2000 onwards) (apro_acs_a). Statistical office of the European Union, Luxembourg. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/data/database. Accessed June 2017Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    FAO (2017) FAOSTAT. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Available at: http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data. Accessed June 2017
  21. 21.
    FAO (2017) FAOSTAT – crops. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Available at: http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QC. Accessed June 2017
  22. 22.
    Formighieri C, Bassi R, Pinnola A (2018) Algae, a new biomass resource. In: Kaltschmitt M (ed) Energy from organic materials (biomass) SpringerGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Galbe M, Wyman C, Kumar R, Cai C (2018) Bioethanol from lignocellulosic biomass. In: Kaltschmitt M (ed) Energy from organic materials (biomass). SpringerGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Good D, Irwin S (2015) The relationship between stocks-to-use and corn prices revisited. Farmdoc Daily 65(5):1–6. Available at: http://farmdocdaily.illinois.edu/2015/04/relationship-stock-to-use-and-corn-prices.html. Accessed June 2017Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Haß M (2016) Der Zuckermarkt im Wandel: Was passiert nach dem EU-Quotenende? Paper presented at the Vortrag anlässlich der 56. Jahrestagung der GEWISOLA “Agrar- und Ernährungswirtschaft: Regional vernetzt und global erfolgreich”, BonnGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    International Grains Council (IGC) (2017) Prices data query. Available at: http://www.igc.int/en/members-site/markets/igc_dataquery2.aspx. Accessed 30 May 2017
  27. 27.
    Kim G (2017) China – Peoples Republic of biofuels annual. Biofuels demand expands, supply uncertain. GAIN report – biofuels annual, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Available at: gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Biofuels%20Annual_Beijing_China%20-%20Peoples%20Republic%20of_1-18-2017.pdf. Accessed June 2017
  28. 28.
    Kim G (2017) China – peoples republic of grain and feed annual. Wheat and rice supplants corn area. GAIN report – grain and feed annual, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Available at: gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Grain%20and%20Feed%20Annual_Beijing_China%20-%20Peoples%20Republic%20of_4-4-2017.pdf. Accessed June 2017
  29. 29.
    Koyama N, Kaiser J, Ciugu K, Kabiru J (2015) Market opportunities for commercial cassava in Ghana, Mozambique, and Nigeria. Available at: https://www.growafrica.com/file/market-opportunities-commercial-cassava-ghana-mozambique-and-nigeria0pdf-0/download?token=XVzcKCzi. Accessed 07 June 2017
  30. 30.
    Landes M (2010) Indian sugar market more volatile. Amber Waves 2(8). Available at: http://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ags:uersaw:121966. Accessed June 2017
  31. 31.
    Licht FO (2016) EU sugar expansion plans may work in 2017/18. F.O. Licht’s Int Sugar Sweetener Rep 148(30):549–552Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Licht FO (2016) High prices unlikely to dampen outlook for sugar consumption. F.O. Licht’s Int Sugar Sweetener Rep 148(25):463–468Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Licht FO (2017) World sugar production to reach all-time high in 2017/18. F.O. Licht’s Int Sugar Sweetener Rep 149(13):215–226Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    MOFCOM (2017) Announcement No. 26 [2017] of the Ministry of Commerce – announcement on the application of safeguard measures against imported sugar. Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China. Available at: http://english.mofcom.gov.cn/article/policyrelease/buwei/201705/20170502583699.shtml. Accessed June 2017
  35. 35.
    Mousa H (2017) Saudi Arabia grain and feed annual. GAIN report – grain and feed annual, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Available at: gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Grain%20and%20Feed%20Annual_Riyadh_Saudi%20Arabia_4-2-2017.pdf. Accessed June 2017
  36. 36.
    OECD/FAO (2011) OECD-FAO agricultural outlook 2011–2020. Organisation for economic co-operation and development/food and agriculture organization of the United Nations. OECD Publishing, Paris.  https://doi.org/10.1787/agr_outlook-2011-en
  37. 37.
    OECD/FAO (2016) OECD-FAO agricultural outlook 2016–2025. Organisation for economic co-operation and development/food and agriculture organization of the United Nations. OECD Publishing, Paris.  https://doi.org/10.1787/agr_outlook-2016-en
  38. 38.
    OECD/FAO (2017) OECD-FAO agricultural outlook 2017–2026. Organisation for economic co-operation and development/food and agriculture organization of the United Nations. OECD Publishing, ParisGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Offermann F, Banse M, Deblitz C, Gocht A, Gonzales-Mellado A, Kreins P, . . . Sanders J (2016). Thünen-Baseline 2015–2025: Agrarökonomische Projektionen für Deutschland. Braunschweig. Available at: https://www.thuenen.de/de/infothek/publikationen/thuenen-report/. Accessed 10 Feb 2017
  40. 40.
    Orden D (2008) The future of global sugar markets. Policies, reforms, and impact. IFPRI Discussion Paper, No. 00829. Available at: http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/ifpridp00829.pdf. Accessed 06 Nov 2013
  41. 41.
    Patel K, Jain A (2016) Indian sugar industry- from rags to riches. Credit Analysis & Research Limited (CARE Ratings), Mumbai. Available at: http://www.careratings.com/upload/NewsFiles/SplAnalysis/Indian%20Sugar%20Industry%20Report.pdf. Accessed June 2017
  42. 42.
    Polet Y (2017) EU-28: EU sugar processors bracing for post-quota with large production increase. GAIN report – sugar annual, No. E17030, USDA. Available at: https://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Sugar%20Annual_Brussels%20USEU_EU-28_4-19-2017.pdf. Accessed June 2017
  43. 43.
    Rondon M (2017) EU sugar processors bracing for post-quota with large production increase. GAIN report – sugar annual, No. E17030, USDA. Available at: https://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Sugar%20Annual_Brussels%20USEU_EU-28_4-19-2017.pdf. Accessed June 2017
  44. 44.
    Salazar-Carrillo J (2013) The collapse of the Cuban sugar industry: an economic autopsy. Economics Research Working Paper Series, No. 5. Available at: http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/economics_wps/5. Accessed June 2017
  45. 45.
    Todd M, Patel S, Kramer R, Prikhodko D, Rylko D, Serova E, Truscott R (2013). Russian federation: sugar sector review. Rome. Available at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/019/i3561e/i3561e.pdf. Accessed June 2017
  46. 46.
    Unica (2016) Final report of 2015/2016 harvest season. South-Central region. Economics and Statistics Department Brazilians Sugarcane Industry Association, São Paulo. Available at: http://www.unicadata.com.br/listagem.php?idMn=93. Accessed June 2017
  47. 47.
    UNICADATA (2017) Sugarcane production data per specific product. Available at: http://www.unicadata.com.br/historico-de-producao-e-moagem.php?idMn=31&tipoHistorico=2. Accessed June 2017
  48. 48.
    United Nations (2017) UN comtrade database. Available at: https://comtrade.un.org/. Accessed 31 May 2017
  49. 49.
  50. 50.
    USDA (2017) PS&D: production, supply and distribution. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Washington, DC. Available at: https://apps.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/psdquery.aspx. Accessed June 2017Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    USDA (2017) Record global production keeps consumption near record high. Sugar: World Markets and Trade, No. May 2017, United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service. Available at: https://apps.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/app/index.html#/app/downloads?tabName=default. Accessed June 2017
  52. 52.
    World Bank (2017) World development indicators. World Bank, Washington, DC. Available at: http://databank.worldbank.org/data/reports.aspx?source=2&series=SP.POP.TOTL&country=IND#. Accessed June 2017Google Scholar

Books, Reviews and Datasets

  1. Bahndorf D, Kienle U (2004) World market of sugar and sweeteners. International Association for Stevia Research e.V, Leinfelden-Echterdingen. Available at: https://www.uni-hohenheim.de/fileadmin/einrichtungen/stevia/downloads/World_Market_Sugar.pdf. Accessed June 2017Google Scholar
  2. EU-COM (2017) Medium-term prospects for EU agricultural markets and income. European Commission, Brussels. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/markets-and-prices/medium-term-outlook_en. Accessed June 2017Google Scholar
  3. EU-COM (2017) Short-term outlook for EU agricultural markets. European Commission, Brussels. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/markets-and-prices/short-term-outlook_en. Accessed June 2017Google Scholar
  4. IGC (2017) Grain market reports. http://www.igc.int/en/Default.aspx. Accessed Jul 2017
  5. ISO (2017) World sugar balances 2003/2004–2016/2017. International Sugar Organization, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. Kingsman J (2000) Sugar trading manual. Woodhead, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  7. Marie S, Piggott JR (1991) Handbook of sweeteners. Springer Science+Business Media/Blackie and Son Ltd, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. OECD (2017) OECD.STAT. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris. http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?queryid=21762#. Accessed June 2017Google Scholar
  9. USDA (2017) GAIN reports. https://gain.fas.usda.gov. Accessed Jul 2017
  10. Worldbank (2017) Commodity markets. http://www.worldbank.org/en/research/commodity-markets. Accessed Jul 2017

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Thünen Institute of Market AnalysisJohann Heinrich von Thünen InstituteBraunschweigGermany