Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent ex­plains maple syrup mar­ket­ing

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Vanier

Thep­res­i­dent of the Fed­er­a­tion of Que­bec Maple Syrup Pro­duc­ers, Serge Beaulieu, made the fol­low­ing com­ments and ob­ser­va­tions in an open let­ter ear­lier in April.

Ev­ery year, Que­be­cers im­pa­tiently await the re­turn of the sugar sea­son. And ev­ery year, un­for­tu­nately the sea­son brings ar­gu­ments about how maple syrup is mar­keted… a song that’s re­peated with­out anal­y­sis of the ser­e­nades. So, once again, the Fed­er­a­tion of Que­bec Maple Syrup Pro­duc­ers, rep­re­sent­ing roughly 7,300 Que­bec maple syrup en­ter­prises, must es­tab­lish the facts.

There are three main sales chan­nels to mar­ket maple syrup in Que­bec, not just one as is of­ten re­peated.

The first chan­nel is through di­rect sales to the con­sumer in con­tain­ers less than five liters in size. All pro­duc­ers, with­out ex­cep­tion, no mat­ter what size and whether or not they have a quota, can sell this way with­out any mon­i­tor­ing or in­spec­tion by the Fed­er­a­tion of Que­bec Maple Syrup Pro­duc­ers. Ac­cord­ing to con­ser­va­tive es­ti­mates, di­rect con­sumer sales ac­count for about ten mil­lion pounds of syrup an­nu­ally, or more or less 10% of the an­nual Que­bec pro­duc­tion.

The sec­ond chan­nel is through in­ter­me­di­ary sales such as gro­cery stores, still in con­tain­ers less than five liters. The 7,300 pro­duc­ers who hold quo­tas can sell this way and the sales are cal­cu­lated in their an­nual quota. The Fed­er­a­tion does not in­ter­vene in the fix­ing of prices in this mar­ket. Four to five mil­lion pounds of syrup are sold this way an­nu­ally in Que­bec.

The third chan­nel is that of bulk sales in con­tain­ers five liters and larger, mostly in bar­rels, and is the prin­ci­pal method of sales for the quota hold­ers. The maple syrup pro­ducer has the choice of ei­ther de­liv­er­ing their syrup to one of about sixty au­tho­rized buy­ers in the prov­ince or sell it to the Fed­er­a­tion it­self who ne­go­ti­ates, be­fore the har­vest, the price of bulk maple syrup with the buy­ers.

Crit­ics of this sys­tem have fo­cused their at­ten­tion on one point from an eco­nomic study that re­ported a decline in Que­bec’s share of global maple syrup sales. Ac­tu­ally, the study also re­ported that “The Que­bec mar­ket­ing sys­tem has proven ef­fec­tive at sta­bi­liz­ing the price and sup­ply of syrup”.

The Fed­er­a­tion of Que­bec Maple Syrup Pro­duc­ers notes that world de­mand for maple syrup went up from 90 mil­lion pounds to 150 mil­lion pounds be­tween 2000 and 2015. To meet that in­crease, the num­ber os taps in Que­bec rose by 30 % dur­ing that pe­riod. More than 380 new busi­nesses started up be­cause of the is­su­ing of new quo­tas. Since 2009, the maple syrup sales agency has had in­creased sales of 9.8 % while Canadian ex­ports of maple prod­ucts have risen 7.6 %. Pay­ments to pro­duc­ers have gone up by 8.5 %.

This year’s har­vest could be a mod­er­ate one. This brings us to the fa­mous ‘re­serve’, which some have called a way to keep prices ar­ti­fi­cially high. In fact, the re­serve was cre­ated to sta­bi­lize prices by sta­bi­liz­ing the sup­ply. The av­er­age price of a can of maple syrup has gone from $8.32 to $8.02 since 2010, while the price of gro­ceries has been in­creas­ing faster than the in­fla­tion rate. While the re­serve sta­bi­lized the price paid to pro­duc­ers af­ter the record har­vests of the past two years, it will also sta­bi­lize the price paid by Que­bec con­sumers af­ter the 2015 har­vest.

The ma­jor­ity of maple syrup pro­duc­ers who at­tended the re­gional meet­ings last win­ter were both sat­is­fied and proud of what the Fed­er­a­tion has ac­com­plished. They can earn a de­cent living from what they pro­duce and they con­trib­ute three­quar­ters of a bil­lion dol­lars to Canada’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct.

April22nd, Earth Day, is an ideal time to cel­e­brate and pay homage to our beau­ti­ful planet. Com­post­ing is a nice gift to of­fer this Earth that keeps us alive.

Bury­ing garbage in a land­fill is not the same as “re­turn­ing to the Earth”

Con­trary to what many peo­ple be­lieve, when bio-

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