"Muscovado Sugar of Barbados"
from sugar cane in Barbados, Barbados
more commonly known as Muscovado
sugar or Moist
This sugar in Barbados is a dark brown sugar that is
very moist with a uniquely strong molasses taste.
reason our sugar has this strong molasses taste is because it
unrefined and produced from the naturally sweet sugar cane juice of the
sugar cane. Another unique feature our sugar
its course grain and sticky sugar crystals.
Since Barbados sugar
is unrefined it is also well known for its high mineral and vitamin
This makes it a great supplement to your diet and a
great replacement to refined white sugar.
Plantations in Barbados
Tobacco and cotton
were once the main agricultural crops in Barbados before Dutch
introduced sugar cane to Barbadian planters in the mid
At this time in the history
the tobacco industry was depressed and the island was in need of a new
source of income. Dutchman Pieter Blower then brought sugar
to the island from Brazil and the crop proved to be the island's most
lucrative cash crop.
As the sugar export industry grew on
island during the 1600s, so
did the number of enormous sugar plantations. These sugar
plantations were owned by wealthy landowners and was known as
the "plantocracy" . In order to make room for these Barbados
sugar plantations mass deforestation took place in 1640.
the early 1800s African slavery in Barbados had reached an all time
high with almost 400,000 slaves. These slaves worked the sugar
plantations in Barbados growing sugar cane, grinding it,
extracting the sugar juice and
processing it, ready to be shipped as raw sugar to
There were once several hundred sugar
on the island but today there are few still in operation. Those
that are no longer producing sugar often come up for sale, with the
plantation houses making desirable residences.
Cultivation in Barbados
The change from
and cotton to the cultivation of sugar, proved to be a good move for
the economy of Barbados. The crop thrived in the environmental
conditions present in Barbados and produced up to 20kg for
Barbados sugar cane grows from
seeds and can be harvested several times once it has been planted,
although each successive crop will yield less sugar.
cane in Babrados is sometimes
harvested by hand. The fields are set on fire to allow the leaves to
be burnt away and the stalks and roots exposed. The harvester
will then cut the stalks with a knife or machette and pile them into
large stacks. The stalks are finally loaded on to trucks and
taken to the sugar cane factories for processing.
advantages to this method of harvesting sugar cane in Barbados are its
lower cost and reduced damage to the roots of the crop.
this method obviously takes quite some time.
Sugar cane in Barbados is therefore
commonly harvested through
the use of machinery. A sugar cane harvesting machine is used
cut the cane stalks and separate them from their
leaves. These harvesters automatically shoot the cut
cane stalks into the back of loading trucks.
disadvantage to this automated process is that the harvesting machines
can cause more damage to the
sugar canes causing depletion of the sugar content. This means
harvested by this means need to be processed as quickly as possible so
avoid the decaying process.
About 90% of the sugar cane in
harvested through the use of machinery with the remaining 10% done
and Exportation of Barbados Sugar
the sugar cane stalks arrive at the sugar factories from the fields by
truck, they are grinded to extract the sugary sweet
then processed into Barbados sugar.
Wind-powered sugar mills, like the Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill in
the parish of St.Andrew, were used
to grind the sugar cane stalks. There are still many sugar
spread throughout the island from old sugar plantations however the
Morgan Lewis Mill remains one of the only restored mills on
During your Barbados vacation
you can visit this old sugar mill to view an exhibit of old mill
equipment and learn more about how these sugar mills work.
production and exportation used to be the main
industry in Barbados and was at its peak in the 16th and 17th
century. However, Barbados is no longer as dependent on sugar
production with the abolition of slavery and boom of
tourism on the island.
has lead to there now only being
2 Barbados sugar factories remaining operational on the island, whereas
there used to be 26. The two remaining sugar factories are Andrews sugar
factory in the parish of St.Joseph and Portvale sugar
factory in the parish of St.James.
reasons behind the decline in sugar production on the island also
include the lack of
mechanisation, as Barbados plantations were too small to properly
benefit from mechanisation, as well as increased competition from more
efficient producers such as Australia and Brazil. Brazil even
plantations larger than this entire island!
industry in Barbados is
very much supported by an agreement between Barbados and the European
export several thousand tons of sugar annually at preferential prices.
The United Kingdom is still one of the most important export
markets for Barbados brown sugar with our sugar widely available and
used through out the UK. There is also a similar
agreement in place with the USA but for a
much smaller quantity. However, these quotas are reducing over
In recent years, the government has
looked at ways to protect the Barbados sugar export industry, one of
which is the production and sale of premium "gourmet" sugars. This has
lead to the production and branding of a premium Barbados
brand known as Plantation
Reserve. This premium sugar brand is produced by the
Barbados sugar industry and marketed and exported through The West Indies Sugar &
Trading Company Ltd, also known as Wistco.
strategy has been quite successful, with a number of premium Barbadian
sugars available in many UK supermarket chains. Plantation
Reserve Sugar is also used at many of Barbados' high end restaurants as
a gourmet sugar to enhance the flavour of many dishes.
Molasses Production in Barbados
Molasses is made from the sugar juice left behind after the sugar has
been made. It can
be used as a syrup as well as the basis for producing
molasses production industry in Barbados has declined some what as a
result of less sugar production. This decline means that the rum
producers now have to import around half of what they need to produce