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> Anyway, even though the range is small, the sugar maple remains an important symbol of Canada. There’s even a global strategic maple syrup reserve.
The reserve is used as price control. Participating producers are obligated to sell almost all their production to the FPAQ (Maple Sugar Producers Federation of Québec…or something like that) who will then stockpile anything not sold back to the market at a certain “stabilized” price. If production is poor, like it did for 4 years straight from 2005 to 2008, producers still get paid because prices were increased during the last couple years to avoid shortage. That still didn’t prevent shortage right before the 2009 season though.
So, all and all, this is not a “Canadian thing”, it pretty much works like a cartel except so far it didn’t try to gouge out prices unless the reserves were running out like it did in 2009 (prices pretty much doubled). It works well to prevent shortage as it lasted almost 4 straight years with poor production, that’s a long time on any market!
The value of the reserve will fluctuate heavily every year, it’s not kept at a fixed number of barrels/liters, they simply stockpile what’s unsold at a higher than “equilibrium” price. But keep in mind, this is a product that can easily be stocked when prices are low and sold when prices are high, creating a huge variability in market prices.