Sustainability of Sugarcane Farms in the Milagro Canton, Ecuador

Carlos Amador-Sacoto, Salomón Helfgott-Lerner


The objective of the research was to evaluate the sustainability of sugarcane cultivation in the Milagro Canton of the Guayas Province in Ecuador, addressing the economic, ecological, and social dimensions, according to the Multicriteria Analysis methodology. A survey was applied to a representative probabilistic sample of 277 sugarcane growers from a target population of 422 agricultural production units dedicated to sugarcane in the Milagro Canton. In the economic dimension, the economic indicator (EconI) was 1.64 (below the referential value of 2 proposed as sustainable by the methodology) due to limitations in the diversification of production, number of marketing channels, dependence on external inputs and access to credit, despite presenting an acceptable planted area, productivity, and profitability. In the ecological dimension, the conservation of soil life and avoiding its degradation was deficient, the management of limited biodiversity, the nutrition of the crop mainly with chemical fertilizers and degradation factors, the irrigation system and burning practices are susceptible to improvement (Environmentally Sustainable Index [ESI] of 1.25). In the social dimension, the Social Indicator (SI) of 3.1 was due to values of Satisfaction of basic needs, acceptability of the production system, social integration, and acceptable ecological awareness. The results indicate that sugarcane cultivation in the Milagro Canton is not sustainable because the General Sustainability Index (GSI) was 1.99, less than 2, and not all the indicators exceeded said value.


Sustainability; environmental sustainability; economic sustainability; social sustainability; sugar cane; Cantón Milagro

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