FREDERICTON (GNB) – The maple syrup sector has been identified as an important component of the provincial government’s economic growth plan.

“The recent expansion of the industry has set the table for investment and further growth,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet. “As the industry develops and reaches a critical point in its expansion, our focus is to ensure the maple syrup industry has the opportunity to realize its full potential.”

With stable growth in the sector over the past two decades, New Brunswick has emerged as the world’s third-largest producer of maple syrup. An estimated two million kilograms of maple syrup are produced each year and exported to 60 countries. The sector employs 2,300 seasonal and part-time workers, with new opportunities for production and employment added each year.

The government recently allotted an additional 4,400 hectares of land for maple sugar production, bringing the total Crown land allocation to 13,500 hectares.

“With the recently allotted Crown land available for production, we believe the maple syrup sector will see growth in the coming years,” said Doucet.

In addition to being an agricultural product, maple syrup has market versatility as a component in additional products and for tourism and spinoff industries. The maple syrup industry has been identified as a key growth opportunity in the New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan.

The Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries is leading the government’s efforts to expand this industry, supported by the departments of Energy and Resource Development; Tourism, Heritage and Culture; and Opportunities NB. The industry association will also be a partner, as will other community groups across the province.

The New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan is the provincial government’s plan to grow the economy and create job opportunities for New Brunswickers.