Maple syrup : The FPAQ has the head in the sand

Sirop d’érable : La FPAQ a la tête dans le sable

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The release of our most recent publication showing that the quota of maple syrup are detrimental to quebec producers, and help their competitors has been talking to the four corners of the province and even outside. Obviously, the Federation of producers maple du Québec (FPAQ) did not agree with us, and she was eager to replicate that in the end, all goes well. Yet, several indicators suggest that the Federation has its head in the sand.

I reproach among others that they did not use that rate of growth, therefore a relative measure, to illustrate the evolution of the production of maple syrup for each State, so that, in absolute terms, Quebec still dominates in terms of production and exports. However, I mentioned this last point repeatedly, in interview in our publication.

However, if the growth in the number of taps and production is increasing more rapidly among our competitors, a mathematical logic, quite simple to understand that this will have the effect of reducing our share of global output (from 82% to 72% since the introduction of quotas). This last measure is not a measure just of the actual market shares of Québec, who are more likely to be low.

In fact, the FPAQ is struggling with large surpluses that it needs to store for years, failing to find buyers : thus, tens of millions of pounds of syrup that sleep in its warehouses. In 2017, this inventory combined accounted for over 64 % of the annual production of Quebec, a significant share of which consists of syrup industrial, which has little opportunities on the market. In addition, producers are not always paid for these quantities unsold, which go back to 2009.

When Quebecers leave Quebec

Even more revealing, these are often producers quebecers leaving the province to escape the control of the FPAQ on the market and the production. One of my friends told me that it is installed outside of Quebec for this reason. Today it operates nearly 150 000 cuts and exports all of its production… in Quebec!

Unlike the producers, this Quebec expatriate is paid on-the-field for the whole of its production, does not pay a fee to the FPAQ and does not have to fear that the police of the Federation pursues its maple syrup if it sells without its permission. A quick visit to the members page of the association of producers of the State of Maine indicates that it is not the only one in this situation. It is, therefore, a displacement of the producers and of the quebec production, which explains in good part the explosion of imports since the implementation of the system.

During this time, the Federation is picking on the producers who want to sell without going through its monopoly. Its director general, Simon Trépanier says that seizures are a rare phenomenon (only ten last year) and that the majority of producers are satisfied with the system. Personally, I received dozens of messages and calls from producers, denounced the system of quotas as a result of our publication (some of whom were also producers of milk, a sector subject to quotas of production!).

The Federation itself has already mentioned that more than 350 producers can circumvent their monopoly, and sold their own syrup. Last year, she said she would set 170 records in a little over two years, with penalties that can reach several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If, as claimed by the FPAQ, the majority of producers are satisfied with the services it provides and the current regime of production and marketing of syrup, why does she feel the need to protect its monopoly on strokes seizures and fines? If the Federation really had the producers at heart, she would devote the whole of his energies to find opportunities for the enormous amounts of syrup that they store, and leave those who wish to handle their own affairs and develop their own market here, rather than risk seeing them leave Quebec and become competitors.