Canada forced to use emergency reserve amid maple syrup shortage

A surge in demand for maple syrup has forced The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP) to use their strategic reserve for the first time in three years.

The QMSP, which helps regulate and oversee production of maple syrup in the region, has been forced to respond over fears of supplies running low.

They have released approximately half of its emergency reserve – roughly 22 million kilograms of syrup.

But despite the move, Helene Normandin of QMSP tried to calm fears there could be a shortage for customers.

Speaking to US radio, she said: “That’s why the reserve is made, to never miss maple syrup. And we won’t miss maple syrup!”

Quebec produces approximately three-quarters of the world’s maple syrup.

The combination of soaring global sales – a jump of more than 36% between 2020 and 2021, according to QMSP – and output falling following a warmer and shorter harvest, has created the problem.

Maple trees can only be tapped when temperatures fall below 0C at night but remain above freezing during the day.

Commenting on the move to tap into the reserves, Ms Normandin added: “This system prevents practically all stock shortages and ensures the market is adequately supplied.

“What we can figure at this moment is maybe the season here in Quebec will start a bit earlier in February, instead of March, and end earlier also.”

The QMSP have predicted that a further seven million trees will be required to avoid shortages next year.

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This isn’t the first time the Canadian staple has hit headlines.

In 2012, $18m (£13.6m) worth of maple syrup was stolen from the reserve – dubbed the ‘Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist’.

Two-thirds of the stolen syrup was later recovered.

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