| || Nearly 125 million metric tons of cane or beet sugar are consumed in the world every year. In 2000, Morocco produced about 4 million metric tons, which makes it a small producer compared with giants such as Brazil, India, and China, but also the United States, France, and Germany. In some industrialized countries, the importance of sugar production to the economy leads them to protect their domestic markets by heavily taxing imports or subsidizing domestic producers. This protectionism tends to lower sugar prices, penalizing developing countries whose economies depend heavily on growing crops for export. A fall in sugar prices generally leads to lower earnings and worsened living and working conditions for workers. In certain countries, the average life expectancy of a sugarcane cutter is no more than thirty years.
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