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Quebec Readies Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve for Deployment

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While the United States wrings its hands over gas prices, Quebec isn't concerned about potential price shocks in the maple syrup market.

That's because the International Strategic Reserve, "which works like a Fort Knox for Canada's most-cherished breakfast condiment," according to The Globe and Mail, has 7.7 million kilograms of syrup "ready to be deployed to feed a rise in global demand while maintaining price stability."

The Reserve is overseen by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, which "expects to be a banner year for exports to Asia due to surging demand from countries like Japan, China and South Korea."

Reporter Rita Trichur explains:

Those markets are increasingly important to the people who make maple syrup – mostly in Quebec, but also in Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia – as the flow of syrup exports slows to the United States, the condiment’s top importer.

Still feeling the effects of the recession, households across the U.S. are crossing maple syrup off their grocery lists. The country spent 15 per cent less on imported maple syrup and maple sugar in 2010 than it did the year before, dropping to $142.9-million from $167.8-million.

So on March 11, the Canadian industry, led by the Quebec federation, went on a media blitz to kick off a strategic plan that largely targets Asian markets. And neither the soaring loonie nor the devastation that occurred in Japan that very day will deter that demand, the group says.

Best of all, from the looks of the above photo, maple syrup can be easily substituted for crude oil when money gets really tight.

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.