Shortly after several countries, led by the United States, announced that they would release part of their strategic oil reserves to ease pressure on energy markets, in Canada They decided to use another type of strategic reserve, unique in the world, and much sweeter than crude oil: honey or maple syrup.
The Québec Maple Syrup Producers Federation (QMSP) announced that it will release some 22,000 tonnes from its Global Strategic Reserve to prevent shortages, also known as maple syrup (or maple, by the English name) of this product on the market.
The conjunction of an increase in demand in the last two years and a harvest less than that of the previous ones had raised fears about problems in the supply of this syrup, which is made with the sap of maples and is used as a side to pancakes.
An early thaw and the arrival of unusually warm temperatures in April contributed to production this year reaching 60,000 tonnes, substantially lower than 79,000 in 2020.
As explained by the QMSP, the processors and bottlers of this product noticed that the harvest of this 2021 had been moderate, therefore increased their orders to ensure supply, which led to the decision to use the reserve to avoid disturbances in the market.
Balancing the market
Quebec is the region of origin for 72% of the world’s maple syrup production. The rest corresponds to the United States.
The strategic reserve was established in 2000, as a mechanism to deal with fluctuations in production and demand for this product.
Thus, in years when there is excess production, the surplus is kept in sealed and sterilized barrels They are stored in the town of Laurierville, in a facility that is the size of about five football fields.
When, like this year, the demand is greater, then the syrup is extracted from the reserve to supply the market.
Currently, the strategic reserve contains about 44,000 tons of this product, so with the announced release it will be reduced by half.
This production is an important business for both Quebec and Canada.
The QMSP brings together more than 11,000 producers from that region.
According Bloomberg, this organization establishes limits to said production, sets the price for the wholesale sale and sends the surplus to the strategic reserve, for which it has a market control similar to that exercised by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in the world of crude oil.
A liter of Canadian maple syrup is worth about $ 9, according to Statista data. That is about 20 times the current price of oil.
According to the QMSP, Quebec producers sold around 67,000 tons of maple syrup in 2020, which represents about US $ 780 million of Canada’s GDP.
A figure that would sweeten anyone’s mouth.