About sixty maple syrup producers want to keep the blond gold in their huts in order to create a shortage on the reserve and drive up the prices paid by the companies. A strategy denounced by the ex-dragon, François Lambert, and which worries the Ministry of Agriculture.
“The Minister is concerned about this idea, despite the fact that it is a small-scale movement,” said Alexandra Houde, press secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, André Lamontagne, in an email.
“Consumers should not suffer more consequences in the context of the rise in food,” she continues, adding that the government is in contact with the person responsible for this movement.
This strategy is also denounced by the businessman François Lambert. He uses the syrup for his production of, among other things, maple sugar, maple butter, popcorn, miniringes and cotton candy.
Photo taken from Instagram@francoislambert.one
The ex-dragon François Lambert poses in front of the land of his maple grove.
Mr. Lambert, who is also a producer, says he buys 20 barrels of syrup a week. He bemoans the fact that some seek to create a “false shortage” to drive up prices for businesses.
“When it’s organized by the government, it’s called a quota. When people organize together, it’s called a cartel,” he says. “It’s as if the milk producers were saying, ‘I’m not happy with the price, I’m going to withhold my milk,'” he adds.
- Listen to Richard Martineau’s interview with François Lambert on QUB radio:
For the past two months, Justin Roy has been a director of the Groupement Acéricole Maple Association (GAMA), which seeks to ensure that producers get more for their syrup. His family and relatives are in the area.
The group’s objective is to bring together as many producers as possible and to cut off part of this year’s supply from the strategic reserve of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (PPAQ).
At 1is last March, the reserve had nearly 35 million pounds. In 2021, we were talking about 105 million. This figure has dropped in recent months due to rising exports and growing demand.
This shortage of syrup could force companies to pay premiums for the purchase of blond gold at auction if the reserve can no longer meet demand. This spring, premiums of 28 cents per pound have already been paid by companies to secure their supply.
“The reserve is low and that brings this possibility,” replies Mr. Roy, specifying that this money would make it possible to absorb the rising costs linked to production and labour. “It’s a bit to send the message that our costs have increased,” he continues.
GAMA wishes to hold its online sales around “the 1is May, from 1is June and September 15. Management is aiming for $4 a pound of syrup. The prices changed by the PPAQ range from $2.20 to $3 per pound, depending on the category.
In 2021, the production of maple syrup had been 133 million pounds in Quebec, compared to 175 million for the previous vintage. If GAMA’s strategy does not work, producers will still be able to send their syrup to the reserve before September 30.
According to PPAQ, this offensive is not illegal and it could be short-lived if the reserve manages to refuel this year. About seven million taps have been added. However, not all of them are used.
“It is certain that this year, the transformers are more nervous”, concedes the president Serge Beaulieu. “There were offers that were made at the start of the sugaring off and that’s kind of what prompted the producers to get together, seeing that they could get a better price,” he concludes.