Friday, February 12, 2016

Report urges end to Quebec syrup quotas

 A report commissioned by the provincial government says the quota control system for maple syrup should be scrapped. 

The report prepared by Florent Gagne says the Quebec Maple Syrup Producers Federation should continue to set a production target, but producers ought to be able to exceed it if they wish. They should also be able to pull out of the federation.

Gagne said that under supply management, Quebec has been losing market share as competitors expand production. Quebec once held about 80 per cent of the world market, but has lost 10 per cent and the report says it will lose another 10 per cent by 2025 if supply management remains in place.

Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis said Quebec's maple syrup industry is handcuffed by too many rules and regulations. 

He said trade agreements with Europe and Pacific Rim countries mean Quebec's maple syrup producers will soon have the potential to reach 1.3 billion consumers and, that if they don't take advantage, other producers will.

Gagne said Quebec's syrup industry needs to be "simplified, relaxed and given oxygen."

Gagne also called on the federation that represents the province's 13,500 maple syrup producers to loosen its grip on production.