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Maple syrup harvest hits record high in 2020; sales also rise

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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% higher than the 2019 record of 13.2 million gallons, pushing syrup sales up 7.9% to $558.5 million this year.

Exports of Canadian maple syrup jumped nearly 22% compared with 2019 in the first nine months of the year, much faster than the gains of 3.2% between 2018 and 2019, the report said.

Quebec producers saw the lion’s share of the gains, with yields falling in 6.2% in New Brunswick, 6.9% in Ontario and 20.7% 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% of Canadian maple syrup production.

While the price in Quebec remained at $38.55 per gallon, other producers saw prices fall. 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.

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