A form of grass, sugar cane originated in the Far East and over centuries made its way to the west.
In the 16th century it was planted in the new world, principally Brazil. The Portugese developed sugar production into the first labour intensive agricultural industry based on African slave labour
When the Dutch occupied northeast Brazil in the first half of the 17th century, they had 200 ships plying back and forth bringing the sweetener to Europe.
After Portugal's reconquest forced the Dutch to flee, they emigrated to the West Indies where they introduced the latest developments in the industry to the Caribbean and for centuries it was the chief economic crop.
Today the industry employs 60000workers producing 237,953 tons of sugar.