Sugar is the umbrella term for sucrose, lactose and fructose, which are edible carbohydrates. It is derived from two plant sources, namely sugar cane and sugar beet. Sugarcane was the first source of sugar, and today approximately 80% of the world’s sugar is still produced from sugarcane, while the remaining 20% comes from beets.
Sugarcane is highly versatile and resilient. Break it, crush it, beat it or grind it, sugarcane always produces sweet syrup. It can be chopped off, chewed upon and then discarded on rich subtropical soil, and it grows back right there. Sugarcane stalks are seeds, and on average, a cane field is replanted every six years.
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The Many Uses of Sugar
Sugar is one of the world’s oldest ingredients. The people of New Guinea were most likely the first to domesticate sugar cane around 8000 B.C. However, the extraction and purifying technology techniques were developed by people who were living in India.
Sugar is mainly used for food preparation. Some uses of sugar for food are listed below
• Providing sweetness
• Serves as preservative in jams and jellies
• Increasing the boiling point or reduces the freezing point of foods
• Allowing fermentation by yeast
• Reacting with amino acids to produce color and flavor compounds important to the taste and golden brown color of baked goods.
• Making foods that have limited moisture content crisp
Sugar is also used for medical purposes. Table sugar can be used to make oral re-hydration solution (ORS), which can help prevent dehydration. It is also used in the production of surfactants, fabrics, and cement.
How to Trade Sugar
Sugarcane is an important commercial crop worldwide, and one of the principal sources of sugar, ethanol, and jaggery (a semi-refined sugar product used in the Indian subcontinent) globally. Its byproducts are also used as a fodder to feed livestock in many countries. Though its cultivation started around 327 B.C. in the Indian subcontinent, it gradually found its way to the rest of the world.
Here are the top five countries that produce sugar, starting from the least is Pakistan with a total of 58 million metric tons, Thailand with 98 million metric tons, China with 123 million metric tons, India with 361 million metric tons and the largest producer, Brazil, with 721 million metric tons.
Sugar can be traded in different ways, one is the buying and selling of sugar futures contract. Sugar futures are standardized, exchange traded contracts in which the contract buyer agrees to take delivery, from the seller, a specific quantity of sugar (example: 112000 pounds) at a predetermined price on a future delivery date.
Another way is buying an option for sugar futures. The good side of buying options is that, it’s cheaper than future contracts and losses are only limited to the premium paid. This involves lower risk than future contracts.
You can also purchase sugar stocks if you are into buying stocks. You can opt for companies like Cosan Ltd., Dharani Sugars and Chemicals Ltd., and Mawana Sugars Ltd..