MONTREAL—Quebec should end its strict quota system for maple syrup in order to stop market share erosion and to better compete internationally, says a new report.
The report, commissioned by the provincial Agriculture Department, noted that Quebec has lost 10 per cent of world market share over the past 10 years and risks losing another 10 per cent by 2025.
Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis said Quebec’s maple syrup industry, which controls more than 70 per cent of world production, is handcuffed by too many rules and regulations and is losing ground to U.S. producers who don’t face the same restrictions.
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.
Report author Florent Gagne said Quebec’s syrup industry needs to be “simplified, relaxed and given oxygen.”
His main recommendation—out of 21—is to abandon the quota system entirely and replace it with a less restrictive alternative.
Gagne also called on the federation that represents the province’s 13,500 maple syrup producers to loosen its grip on production.
“The federation should set the annual quantity of maple syrup it wants to acquire from its members and then let them produce however much more they want beyond that,” Gagne said.
He also recommended maple syrup producers be able to pull out of the collective production system altogether.