The Ontario maple industry contributes close to $50 million to the GDP of Ontario annually, $10 million in taxes and sees a permanent and casual workforce of over 1500 jobs.
The Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association (OMSPA) President Frank Heerkens says however, that “The industry is at a crossroads. We have to understand where to adjust to meet the needs and demands of the future. OMSPA was formed in 1966 with a clear intent to enhance and grow the industry, but over the last 56 years, much has changed.”
Funding recently received from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) for an Ontario Sector Development Project, will explore a revised strategic approach for the maple syrup industry in Ontario. OMAFRA’s support includes an $83,000 grant to explore quality assurance issues, domestic market opportunities, partnership possibilities, climate change effects, and how to develop future maple producers, all keys in determining a future path for the industry.
The OMAFRA funding will help OMSPA to analyze where the industry is now, what the possibilities are for the future, and to work with its members in this revision of its strategic plan.
“Our government appreciates the hard work that Ontario maple syrup producers put in year after year to create a world class product,” says Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “It is important to support the efforts of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association which is committed to ensuring it’s members produce high-quality products using the best available management practices. The tradition associated with producing one of nature’s greatest natural sweeteners is truly a success story, and I look forward to seeing the positive economic impacts this funding will help generate.”