The Guatemalan Sugar reaches 43 countries


Sugar from Guatemala sweetened 43 countries in 2021. Last year, sugar and its byproducts represented 4% of the country’s total exports, equivalent to 520 million dollars in foreign currency for the country.

The main countries to which Guatemalan Sugar was exported in 2021 were the United States, Canada, South Korea, Taiwan, Haiti, Libya, Jamaica, Italy, Ghana, and Malaysia.

By continent, the main export destinations for Guatemalan sugar are America with 50%, Africa with 15%, Asia with 22%, Europe with 11% and Oceania with 2%.

Of the exports of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry in 2021, 65.7% was sugar, 22.4% alcohol and 11.9% molasses.

Waste is transformed and reused for export

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry takes advantage of their residues, which are transformed to be reused. This is the case of alcohol or ethanol, which is produced with molasses and 55 million gallons are produced each year, most of which are exported.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry produces alcohol or etanolGuatemalan ethanol is used for cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, liquor production and as a fuel. The five main countries where this product was exported in 2021 were: The Netherlands, the United States and its territories, Mexico, Switzerland, and El Salvador.

In addition, during the sugar production process, other types of honey or molasses are also exported and according to data from the Bank of Guatemala in 2021, 72.5% went to the United States; 13.9% to the United Kingdom; 5.5% to Guyana; 5.2% to the Netherlands and 3% to Canada.

Sugar from Guatemala and its byproducts are the second largest export agro-industrial product in Guatemala and one of the main products exported by the country.

Main destinations of Guatemalan Sugar

Main destinations of Guatemalan Sugar

Guatemalan Sugar was exported to 59 countries and regions on 5 continents in 2020; and it ranks as the sixth export product of the country according to data from the Guatemalan Central Bank (Banguat).

Guatemala exports 70% of its total sugar production, the remaining 30% is fortified with vitamin A and remains in the country to supply local consumption.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry produces natural sugar that comes from sugarcane plants grown on farms and has minimal processing.

In the top 3 destinations of Guatemalan sugar are countries of the American continent: Canada 256.4 million kilograms (256,351 MT), the United States 189 million kilograms (188,966 MT) and Chile 184.2 million kilograms.

The top 10 destinations of Guatemalan sugar

Main countries of each continent

The sugar produced in Guatemala was exported to all continents in 2020 according to Banguat.

sugar produced in Guatemala was exported to all continents

More than 50% of the sugar that leaves Guatemala is exported to countries on the American continent, in addition to Canada, the United States and Chile, Haiti 83.8 million kilograms (83,754 MT) and Peru 53.3 million kilograms (53,263 MT) complete the top 5.

In the case of the Asian continent, Taiwan is placed in the first position with 130 million kilograms of sugar (130,202 MT), South Korea in second place with 62.6 million kilograms (62,619 MT) and Malaysia in third place imported 46.8 million kilograms (46,830 MT).

Ivory Coast is the main country to which sugar is exported from Guatemala on the African continent with 70.1 million kilograms (70,068 MT), followed by Mauritania with 45 million kilograms (44,994 MT) and very close is Ghana 44.9 million kilograms (44,899 MT).

In Europe, Spain is the country that leads the import of Guatemalan sugar with 37 million kilograms (36,983 MT) followed by Portugal 19 million kilograms (18,882 MT) and Italy 15.3 million kilograms (15,309 MT).

And in Oceania, most of the sugar from Guatemala reaches New Zealand 60.5 million kilograms (60,500 MT) and only about 675 kilograms (0.68 TM) reaches Australia.

Zafra 2020/21 begins, a season of sweetness and development

Zafra 2020-2021 began with safety mesures

Zafra 2020/21 begins, a season of sweetness and development

The Zafra has started with a “Return to work Protocol with Occupational Health and Safety measures against COVID-19”.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry began the 2020/21 harvest under strict measures for the prevention of Covid-19 with the commitment to guarantee the supply of sugar, alcohol, and energy for millions of families.

The Zafra begins each year in November and ends in May, a time during which economic reactivation is propitiated in the South of Guatemala, due to the generation of jobs and the hiring of hundreds of suppliers of products and services.

Measures that sugar mills have adopted in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic

The harvest Season in Guatemala means development

The production of food and energy are essential; therefore, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry is committed to Guatemala and the world to guarantee the supply of sugar, alcohol, and electricity.

The sugar mills continue their operations under strict preventive measures to provide a safe work environment, following Occupational Health and Safety protocols and the dispositions of the authorities.

In order to maintain sanitary measures, there is the: “Return to work protocol with Occupational Health and Safety measures against COVID-19“, which has been designed and formulated by the Guatemalan Sugar Industry with COVID-19 preventive measures to apply in administrative, agricultural and industrial areas.

This protocol was created based on the Presidential Provisions, the Protocol of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance (MSPAS), the Guatemalan Social Security Institute (IGSS), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO). Each sugar mill adopts and adapts it to its daily operation, within the terms of the Law and the Epidemiological Surveillance System of the Occupational Health and Safety Union Policy.

Production projection for the 2020/21 Zafra

For the 2020/21 Zafra, the production expectation will remain between 2.6 and 2.7 metric tons of sugar.

According to the projection, the production of the 2020/21 Zafra in quintals is equivalent approximately to 57 and 58 million quintals of sugar. Guatemala is the third country with the highest productivity in the world, obtaining an average of 10.6 tons of sugar for each hectare of cane cultivated.

For this harvest, the cultivated area is 250,662 hectares and according to the Forest Cover Map prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food -MAGA-, the cultivation of sugarcane represents 3.3% of the arable area of the country.

During the 2019/20 harvest, 56 thousand direct jobs and 280 thousand indirect jobs were generated, benefiting 90% of the municipalities of Guatemala with the economic footprint of Sugar.

Guatemalan Sugar in the world

Guatemala is the second largest sugar exporter in Latin America and the fourth worldwide; it also has the third place in productivity at the global level with respect to obtaining sugar per hectare of cultivated cane.

The main export markets in the 2019/20 Zafra were Canada, the United States, Chile, Mauritania, Taiwan, China, New Zealand, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Senegal. For this year, countries such as Romania and Equatorial Guinea are added, to which sugar from Guatemala will be exported for the first time.

These exports, added to those of alcohol and molasses, represent 7% of the country’s exports in 2019, according to figures from the Bank of Guatemala.

Renewable energy production

There are 11 sugar mills, and they operate in the departments of Escuintla, Santa Rosa, Suchitepequez and Retalhuleu. In addition to producing sugar, they generate renewable electricity. During the previous harvest, the mills served up to 35% of the national energy demand.

Renewable energy from sugarcane bagasse

During the 2019/20 harvest, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry generated 1,991 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable energy; 8.6% more than what was generated during the previous season 2018/19, when 1,834 GWh were generated. Contributing to the diversification of the energy matrix and the stability of the electricity rate in the country.