Once as prized as gold, sugar has had a strong influence on the landscape and culture of Mauritius. Sugar cane was introduced from Java by the Dutch in the seventeenth century and developed during French colonization (1715–1810) before becoming the cornerstone of the economy under the British (1810–1968). Occupying forty percent of the country, and encompassing fifteen different types of sugar, blond fields of sugar cane are still a fixture of the landscape. The sugar industry now outputs about 500,000 tonnes (compared to a peak of 718,000 tonnes in 1973) and Mauritius was the first country in the world to produce electricity from bagasse, a clean renewable resource, which now accounts for about sixteen percent of the island’s electricity output.

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