Québec’s maple industry, over the past 15 years, has experienced remarkable growth
Indeed, it is one of Canadian agriculture’s success stories, with the wind in its sails and its methods for getting to this point fully proven. Florent Gagné himself recognizes this to be the truth. The maple industry accounts for some 10,000 full-time jobs in Québec. What can possibly motivate the Minister of Agriculture to question the foundations for such success? That’s the question in the minds of Québec’s 13,500 maple syrup producers in the wake of yesterday’s Gagné Report to the National Assembly of Québec and Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis.
According to Mr. Gagné, the maple industry is doing well: “…the industry is healthier today…” (p. 8), “The financial situation of maple syrup producers has improved and is now considered to be very healthy overall.” (p. 11) It is because of our foundation of collective marketing that these past 15 years of success have been possible. What justifies the removal of a foundation that has created what the report’s author affirms is a situation that has never been better for the industry in terms of exports and sales? Let’s look at what really led Minister Paradis to commission this report.
A Proven (Collective Marketing) System = Success for the Québec Maple Industry
- Sales by Québec Maple Producers (Marketing Agency) in 2015: 103.3 million pounds of maple syrup
- Increase in Sales by Québec Maple Producers (Marketing Agency) over the past 5 years: 75%
- Exports of Maple Products from Canada in 2015: 92.8 million pounds
- Increase in Exports of Maple Products from Canada over the past 5 years: 29%
- 13,500 maple producers, united in action, constitute a major lever for investment in promotion and research.
- Since 2004, Québec maple producers have invested heavily, from their own pockets, to a total of some $35M toward promotion and market development in order to grow the brand awareness, visibility, value and sales of maple products on the national and international levels.
- Since 2005, Québec maple producers have invested more than $7M in more than 50 research projects that have led to a better understanding of our “liquid gold.”
What have we learned about maple, thanks to Québec maple producers?
- its antioxidant properties;
- its nutritional value;
- its polyphenol, known uniquely as”Quebecol”;
- its potential as a better sweetener in the control of glycemia;
- its abscisic acid content;
- its benefits for athletes;
- the development of maple water as a marketable product.
The collective efforts of 13,500 maple producers and the sector in which they work have created a stable environment for the industry. But it seems the minister, by endorsing the Gagné report, wants to throw a monkey wrench into a finely-tuned system at the request of a very small minority. Is this really in the best interests of the sector and maple producers in general, of the economy of Québec and its regions, or is it just to please a few?
To answer these questions and to comment on the Gagné report, the Federation of Québec Maple Syrup Producers and the Union des producteurs agricoles will speak to the media on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 11:30 am. at Centre des congrès de Québec, Room 400-A.
This media conference will be followed by a demonstration in front of the National Assembly. A great number of Québec maple producers will be available for comment in detail on the Gagné report.