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Sugarcane on Reunion Island

 

75 to 80% of sugarcane produced by the French overseas territories comes from Reunion Island, which represents about 210,000 T of sugar yearly. Two mills process the cane in Reunion Island, Bois-Rouge in the North East and Le Gol in the South West.

The sugarcane industry in Reunion is exposed to strong climatic threats (drought, cyclone, soil erosions…), rough topography and urbanisation pressure.

With 3,300 small scale family farms (7.6 ha in average), spread over 57% of the usable agricultural area of the island i.e. 24,000 ha, the sugarcane industry is the pivot of the agricultural sector in Reunion. More than 13% of private jobs are linked to it (18,300 jobs, direct, indirect and induced). It is a true structural component of the economic landscape of the island.

Growing constraints has prompted the sugarcane industry to constantly seek for economic gains (plant breeding, irrigation advances, improvement of cropping systems…) and possible synergies with other industries, be they agricultural or not.

The sugarcane industry is for example engaged in developing renewable energies thanks to the bagasse (milling by-product) which currently supplies about 12% of the electricity of the island each year. It also relies on many exchanges and pooling with other industries such as the livestock industry and the plant diversification industries.

The sugarcane industry is engaged in research and innovation and aims to keep developing in both the agricultural and industrial space. It contributes to sustainable development and complements other agricultural and economic sectors in Reunion.