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Oh, Canada: Strategic maple syrup reserves tapped amid shortage

December 1, 2021

Oh, Canada: Strategic maple syrup reserves tapped amid shortage

As much of the northern hemisphere battles with sweeping energy shortages, Canada has been forced to tap its own strategic reserves to deal with a very Canadian problem.

As much of the northern hemisphere battles with sweeping energy shortages, Canada has been forced to tap its own strategic reserves to deal with a very Canadian problem.

Just as US President Joe Biden has been forced to release 50 million barrels of oil from his country’s stockpiles to stave off rising prices and a looming energy shortage, Canada has announced it will dip into its strategic maple syrup reserve to keep prices of the sugary sap down, too.

That’s right, Canada has a strategic maple syrup reserve. Really.

The Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP) strategic reserve is, worryingly, the only such store of this breakfast table staple globally, and its history dates back to the 1960s when maple syrup producers unionised in order to professionalise their sap-gathering work.

Since then, the QMSP has operated in a similar fashion to OPEC; releasing additional supply when shortages arise and encouraging buyers to deal with any excess in years of stronger production.

In 2000, the group established the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve as part of a system designed to better manage production. This system includes a licensing regime that would-be producers must go through before starting production. 

While a maple syrup cartel may seem like an absurd idea to some, the QMSP represents 11,300 producers who collectively account for more than 70% of the world’s maple syrup supply. 

Unfortunately maple syrup can only be extracted from the trees under the right weather conditions, and a short, warm spring resulted in an undersupply of the sticky commodity.

Fortunately for pancake lovers everywhere, Quebec’s syrup cartel have opened their hearts (and their maple syrup vats) to meet our growing demand for the sweet, golden liquid.

Sources


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