Sugar Cane Field

A lone John Crow bird (Cathartes aura) soars high above a sugar cane field in Caymanas.

In places like this the air is thick with the sweet smell of raw sugar. For almost 500 years sugar cane has been grown in Jamaica. The Spanish were the first to grow sugar in Jamaica starting very early in the 1500’s. When the British took the island from the Spanish in 1655 they turned sugar into an industry making Jamaica the world’s number one producer and supplier of sugar for the next two centuries. In cane fields on the plantations slaves were brutalized, tortured and worked to death in the hot sun just to supply the world with sugar. Sugar was the cocaine of the 18th century and people couldn’t get enough, it was so precious that it was often kept in a locked box in one’s house, if you could afford it.

Sugar production that was once done by the plantations is now done by 15,000 independent cane farmers throughout the island. Sugar cane is still in the lifeblood of Jamaica whether its sold in the markets or it’s street vendors selling cane and cane juice the industry indirectly supports around 100,000 people on the island. Today Jamaica is the leading producer of sugar in the Caribbean.

2 comments on “Sugar Cane Field”

  1. Very nice. Was this shot on film?

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