The sugar cane plant was introduced into Mauritius by the Dutch settlers in 1639.
Sugar was manufactured for the first time in 1696. The sugar industry expanded in the 19th century and sugar production reached 150 000 tonnes in 1862 from 52 000 hectares of cane.
Organized research started with the creation of the Station Agronomique in 1893. A special section on sugar cane research was established at the Department of Agriculture in 1930. Following recommendations made by the Mauritius Economic Commission in 1947 the sugar industry decided to organize and conduct its own research. Thus, the Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute (MSIRI), was founded in 1953 with the mandate "to promote by means of research and investigation the technical progress of the sugar industry".
Since 2011, the MSIRI operates under the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority (MCIA), which has been set up as a body corporate under the MCIA Act No. 40 of December 2011. The legislation was promulgated on 19 March 2012, and the Ministry of Agro Industry and Food Security is the parent Ministry. The Institute has been renamed Mauritius Sugarcane Industry Research Institute (MSIRI), and its objectives are to conduct research on all aspects of sugarcane in order to enhance the cost effectiveness and competitiveness of the cane industry and to improve the efficiency of Mauritian sugar factories. A Research and Development Committee advises the MSIRI on research programmes and on all technical matters relating to the functions of the Institute.