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Que. to expand sugar bushes on Crown land

Quebec’s natural resources ministry plans to award new rights to produce maple syrup on Crown land in coming months.

In a release Wednesday, the province said it made the decision based on a recent boost in production quotas by the Federation des producteurs
acericoles du Quebec (FPAQ), already approved by the province’s agri-food marketing board.

Any person or company will be able to apply for an allocation of rights to expand an existing sugar bush or develop a new one on public land, the ministry said.

However, the natural resources ministry (MRNF) advises checking with one of its regional offices to see if a proposed project fits the provincial and local criteria before applying to FPAQ for additional syrup quota.

Priority is expected to go to applications that FPAQ had deemed eligible in 2007 but could not be approved then because quota allocations were unavailable.

Among the expected criteria for approval of new rights to develop sugar bushes on public land are:

  • its connection to existing quota allocations, allowing FPAQ to consolidate them;
  • the proposed number of taps per hectare, the percentage of land populated by maples, and a lack of fragmentation in that maple population;
  • whether the proposal calls for the running of new power lines or permanent sap lines outside the intended area;
  • the type of infrastructure needed for the project;
  • an approved forest inventory, and approval of a cohabitation agreement dealing with forestry and timber rights to the land.

The full criteria for such allocations are to be made public in September, the ministry said in its release. As for start-up sugar bushes, as opposed to expansion or consolidation projects, the ministry said it plans to catalogue the available public areas in each region where new permits could be issued for start-up projects that would begin in March 2010.

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