Maple Syrup Continues Worldwide Ascent



    MONTREAL, March 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Maple syrup's success in Québec and
internationally continues to grow. In the past year several steps have been
taken to increase both production of maple syrup and its promotion. 2007 was
an excellent year in terms of syrup consumption, and everything has been done
to make 2008 just as exceptional.
    Taking over from 15-year veteran Pierre Lemieux, Serge Beaulieu is the
new President of the Fédération des producteurs acéricoles du Québec (FPAQ).
Beaulieu has this to say about 2007-2008: "More and more we're seeing that the
efforts we've made to deseasonalize maple products, like publishing recipe
booklets for both summer and the Christmas holidays, plus advertisements in
magazines and recipes on our web site sucrezmieux.ca, are starting to bear
fruit. Consumers realize that maple syrup, which in the past they only ate at
breakfast, has multiple uses and can be a part of any meal. Some great
educational work has been done and we're going to keep on doing it."

    Maple syrup sales still rising

    Both in Québec and around the world, syrup sales haven't stopped growing.
According to ACNielsen, unit sales of maple syrup in Québec groceries and
superstores were up 57% in 2007 over 2006. In monetary value it was a 42%
increase in sales.
    Global exports also went up over the last year. 2007 exports came to
$217.4 million, a 13% increase over 2006. In volume terms, 81.5 million pounds
of maple syrup sold in 2007, compared to 79.1 million in 2006. The production
gap was filled from FPAQ's strategic reserves.
    It's worth knowing that 80% of Québec's maple syrup production is
exported, chiefly to the United States, Japan and Germany. Annual production
in Québec has been 61.7 million pounds, representing 76% of production
worldwide.

    Increased production capacity

    The last two years have seen a sharp reduction in maple syrup stocks in
the warehouse: reserves are now at their lowest level. While exports continue
to rise, bad weather has pushed reserves off-balance, the 2007 harvest being
the worst in 40 years.
    To increase maple syrup reserves, FPAQ made a formal request to the Régie
des marchés agricoles et alimentaires du Québec (RMAAQ), which last October
approved an increase in production quotas from 75% to 90%. Additionally,
producers are being offered the opportunity to produce 10.5 million pounds of
syrup, be it to launch new businesses, modernize equipment, expand existing
businesses, or allow quota-poor operations to produce at full capacity. That's
going to mean 34% more syrup that growers will be able to produce, starting
with the next harvest.
    In the same vein, at a drawing held on February 29, 166 new producers
divvied up production of 1.2 million pounds of maple syrup, representing some
481 009 taps on both public and private land. Projects drawn by lot had
various purposes, like taking over a family business. This measure will help
ensure the continuity of the industry with more constant production of maple
syrup over the short, medium and long terms.

    Producers looking to the future

    Maple producers are happy with how their collective efforts have put
production on the right track. What they want for the future is to protect
their income and obtain equitable support like that available for other crops.
Everything is in place for another record harvest: all we can do now is let
Mother Nature do her work!

    About the Fédération des producteurs acéricoles du Québec

    Founded in 1966, the Fédération des producteurs acéricoles du Québec was
created to develop the economic, social and moral interests of the 7300 maple
businesses that form its membership. It represents men and women who have
chosen to work together by opting for the collective marketing of their
product. Thanks to the quality of their work, today Québec boasts 80% of the
world's maple syrup production.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/




For further information:

For further information: Serge Beaulieu, President, FPAQ, (450)
679-7021; Charles-Félix Ross, Executive Director, FPAQ, (450) 679-7021;
Anne-Marie Granger-Godbout, Assistant Director, FPAQ, (450) 679-7021,
extension 8633; Source: Johannie Coiteux, (450) 679-0540, extension 8609,
jcoiteux@upa.qc.ca


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