Sugarcane was introduced in the French Caribbean in the 17th century to create a durable production to allow a sufficient supply to Europe.
Sugarcane in Guadeloupe and Martinique societies represents the tragedy of slavery in the past, an important contribution to the produced value on the islands, which is now the soul of the French Isles.
The sugar, extracted from the stem, stays an important part in the local economy of Guadeloupe and Martinique. The only sugar factories operating are Gardel in continental Guadeloupe and Gallion in Martinique.
When travelling across the French Caribbean countryside you will not miss them, they are everywhere: in fields, on tractors, in the “ti punch” and tropical cocktails, in bottles or being peeled and cut on the roadside for the locals to suck on. Sugarcane and all its by-products is a centrepiece delight in French Caribbean culture.