Who steals $30M worth of maple syrup?

With the separatists back in power in the Canadian province of Quebec (yawn) someone decided to make a pre-emptive strike on the economy and steal $30 million worth of maple syrup.

Quebec is the world’s largest producer of maple syrup.

And Quebec has a strategic reserve of maple syrup.

According to The Atlantic, the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers has been managing warehouses full of surplus sweetener since 2000. The crooks seem to have made off with more than a quarter of the province’s backup supply.

Michael Farrell, an extension associate at Cornell University’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and an expert in all things maple said, “We think of it as a little cottage industry here in the states. But up there [syrup is] a big industry that’s responsible for a lot of people’s livelihoods.” 

Today, Quebec taps 75 percent of the world’s supply, and its producers have been attempting to grow their market abroad. Shipments to Japan, for instance, rose 252 percent between 2000 and 2005.

The reserve makes sure there’s always enough syrup for the market. As Farrell explained, each producer sells its harvest in bulk to the federation — a government-sanctioned cooperative — which turns around and deals it to bulk buyers. When production is high, the federation siphons a portion off to store in steel drums for future use.