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Teaching Resources

sugar factfile

Commodity Sugar
Country Malawi is an East African country with a population of 104,3 million. Fairtrade commodities originating there include tea, sugar, herbs and spices.


Background information Around 80 per cent of the world’s sugar is derived from sugar cane, grown by millions of small-scale farmers and workers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania. Sugar cane is a tall, bamboo-like grass that grows to a height of 6m and is largely grown in tropical countries.


The remaining 20 per cent of the world’s sugar supply comes from sugar beet – a root crop resembling a large parsnip, grown mainly in the temperate zones in the North. In general, the costs of producing sugar from sugar cane are lower than for sugar beet.


Social issues The price that small-scale farmers receive for sugar cane can fail to cover the costs they incur to produce it, leaving them in a debt trap and with little capital to reinvest in farms.


This affects the entire community, as sugar cane farmers often rely heavily on their families for help, limiting people’s opportunities for education and perpetuating the cycle of poverty.


Environmental issues Sugar cane production can contribute to a host of environmental problems, including deforestation, habitat destruction, water scarcity and water pollution.


The overuse of chemical fertilisers and pesticides decreases soil fertility and pollutes soil and water.


Why is Fairtrade important?


Through Fairtrade certification sugar cane farmers can get improved access to international markets and develop the necessary business skills and technical capacity to be more competitive in the global market.


Where to buy Fairtrade suga Co-op, Cotswold Fudge, Liberation Nuts, Lidl, M&S,

Meridian, Sainsbury’s, Steenbergs, Suma, Tate & Lyle, Waitrose.


Join us on Twitter at  @FairtradeUKEd