Maple syrup harvest hits record high in 2020; sales also rise
December 14, 2020 | By The Canadian Press
(CP) OTTAWA – Canada’s maple syrup harvest hit a record high of 14.3 million gallons this year, despite shutdowns during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.
This year’s harvest was 8.3 per cent higher than the 2019 record of 13.2 million gallons, pushing syrup sales up 7.9 per cent to $558.5 million this year.
Exports of Canadian maple syrup jumped nearly 22 per cent compared with 2019 in the first nine months of the year, much faster than the gains of 3.2 per cent between 2018 and 2019, the report said.
Quebec producers saw the lion’s share of the gains, with yields falling in 6.2 per cent in New Brunswick, 6.9 per cent Ontario and 20.7 per cent in Nova Scotia.
Cancelled local festivals and breakfast events took a toll on smaller sugar shacks, but Quebec firms were boosted by good spring weather and more taps, Statistics Canada found.
Quebec, where prices are controlled by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, produces almost three-quarters of the global maple syrup supply, and accounts for 90 per cent of Canadian maple syrup production.
While the price in Quebec remained at $38.55 per gallon, other producers saw prices fall. Sales of Nova Scotia syrup fell by a fourth to $2.8 million, in part due to lower prices for bulk syrup, the report said. In New Brunswick, prices fell $2.05 per gallon to $36.78.
Statistics Canada noted that like many other industries, syrup producers have had to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Quebec, harvesters reported new ways of delivering barrels and cleaning equipment, while other firms turned to online sales and phone banking with farm visits on hold in the spring.