The sugarcane industry in Brazil has gone through two distinct periods. The first period (2000-2008) was characterized by strong growth, production and the area occupied by sugarcane increased based on the expansion of the agricultural frontier and the installation of new plants. The second (2009-2014), characterized by a crisis that led to a slowdown in industry, divestment, factory closures, and a drop in production. The objective of this paper is to present the recent developments of this industry in the Northwest region of São Paulo State (Araçatuba, Presidente Prudente, and São José do Rio Preto mesoregions). In the first period, the availability of land for sugar cane plantations was an important growth factor. Twenty new plants were installed in the study region. São José do Rio Preto had an average growth of sugarcane cultivated area of 28.4%; Araçatuba 24.2%; and Presidente Prudente 38.2%. Between 2009 and 2013 there was a decrease in the average annual growth rates of sugarcane-occupied areas in São José do Rio Preto; Presidente Prudente and Aracatuba, equivalent to a reduction of about 8,800 tons of sugarcane per year.
land use; sugar-energy sector; sugar cane; crisis