After four difficult springs, the 2009 season will go down as a historic season, with Quebec maple syrup production hitting 109.4 million pounds.
Producers have been thrilled with the news, especially after they produced only half of this volume the previous year. Even though it is impossible right now to predict production for the 2010 harvest, the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers has once again increased the quota for all producers to 100 per cent in order to respond to global demand.
Furthermore, 300,000 new taps are being utilized for 2010 and 2011, which will add to the current quota of 110 million pounds, a huge difference from the 68 million in 2003.
The 2009 production was enough to fulfil maple syrup demand worldwide. This comes as welcome relief, especially after the collapse of stocks observed at the end of 2008, which raised prices. Thanks to last year’s great harvest, all those involved from the Table filire acéricole du Québec have been able to pursue the market development which started several years ago, at the same time ensuring that increasing syrup prices are kept under control.
Figures published by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada show healthy recovery in maple product exports, to the delight of consumers throughout the world.
“Favourable climatic conditions, moderate snowfall, the increase in quotas and optimal production efficiency have all contributed to a record season in 2009,” said Serge Beaulieu, president of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. “We cannot produce maple syrup without ideal conditions, as was the case in 2008 for example, when only 58.7 million pounds were produced, half of what we have achieved in 2009.”
ONGOING MARKET DEVELOPMENT
As well as looking into quotas, the federation is also supporting several other initiatives. One of these consists of showing maple syrup in a different light.
According to a 2007 survey of 1,000 Quebecers, over 90 per cent of households consume maple products each year, but mainly in desserts. However, maple brings new flavours to cooking and therefore has great potential as an ingredient in main courses too.
The federation is also continuing to invest in maple research. Initial detailed analysis of maple syrup shows that moderate consumption of maple products is in fact good for you.
It contains antioxidants as well as other essential minerals like calcium. However, these are only partial results and more needs to be done.
The New Generation of Maple: 2020 strategy, which was developed with the co-operation of the Canadian maple industry, will help to further our knowledge on the culinary and health benefits of maple products.
Maple producers have demonstrated their support for exploring maple’s full potential by voting for an increase in deduction from 2.75 to 4.75 cents at the Federation’s last Annual General Meeting.
Finally, it is important that maple production is also recognized as a driving force behind regional economic development. It is this industry that allows some village communities to survive despite the threat of closures.
The need for recognition is highlighted by the crisis currently afflicting the private forest sector and this initiative will work towards better planning for regional maple development, on both public and private land. The FPAQ believes that forestry jobs have to adapt to maple production so that the industry can continue to grow.
The FPAQ also believes that the Act to Preserve Agricultural Land needs to play its part in managing logging permits in green belts, and that the Loi sur l’aménagement durable du territoire forestier, which is currently undergoing revision, has to properly allow for maple.
The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers was founded in 1966 with the mission of defending and promoting the economic, social and moral interests of its 7,400 maple businesses.