MONTREAL • A late spring caused Canada’s maple syrup production to fall for the second consecutive year in 2015 — and El Nino is threatening to put a dent in next spring’s output as well.The warmer El Nino weather is expected to have an impact on a number of commodities, including maple sap, said Sylvain Charlebois, professor of distribution and food policy at the University of Guelph’s Food Institute.“I see little evidence that would encourage anyone to see a good year in 2016,” he said in an interview.The impact would hit Quebec, the world’s dominant maple syrup producer, along with Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and syrup-producing U.S. states like Vermont and New York.Producers on both sides of the border aren’t yet ready, however, to throw in the towel.How a maple syrup rebellion is growing in QuebecHow TPP could make things sticky for Quebec’s maple syrup producersThe Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers says it’s too soon to know what impact warmer conditions could have next spring.“Nobody can predict the production of each year,” said federation deputy director Paul Rouillard.He also doubts that weather poses a long-term problem for Quebec, because colder parts of the province could — over several decades — pick up the slack from more affected regions. Quebec’s federation, representing about 7,300 producers, is seeking approval to add 2.5 million taps to the 43 million already active each year.Quebec’s supply management system keeps syrup prices high by using its strategic reserve — which contains 60 million pounds — to balance production fluctuations.A shorter season also affected U.S. maple production last year but it’s premature to forecast weather problems several months ahead, said Matthew Gordon, executive director of the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association.“It certainly could have an impact, but I wouldn’t base any business decisions on it right now,” he said.Gordon said although El Nino affects winter weather, it tends to have less impact on spring’s oscillating temperatures of freezing nights and thawing days that are crucial for maple production.Canadian maple production decreased 6.1 per cent to 8.9 million gallons last season, said Statistics Canada.The value of maple production was $358 million, down from $380 million in 2014 and the $408 million peak in 2013.Quebec remained the country’s largest producer, accounting for more than 90 per cent of national output. However, its production decreased 5.8 per cent from 2014, StatsCan said Wednesday.Poor weather in parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia also hurt production in Canada’s third and fourth-largest maple producing provinces after Ontario, which was stable.Despite lower production, maple syrup sales and exports have steadily increased over the past five years, said Rouillard.Quebec export volumes to the U.S. increased last year even though new American production caused the province’s U.S. market share to drop to about 72 per cent.Quebec producers also spend about $5 million annually to develop new maple products and to expand exports to markets in Europe, Asia and Australia.The weaker loonie is expected to give Canadian sales a jolt as exported syrup becomes cheaper.Gordon said U.S. bottlers that aren’t marketing their state-produced syrup will look to purchase lower priced bulk Canadian syrup. That could be a disincentive for American producers to continue to add more taps.The Canadian Press
According to Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, at the end of March, the Ukraine Ministry of Social Protection reported that there were nearly 1.2 million registered internally displaced persons (IDPs) across the country. However, difficulties in verifying residence procedures for them are affecting their ability to access to social services.OCHA said there is a high incidence of cardio-vascular disease, mental health and acute respiratory infections. Reportedly, cases of malnutrition and acute diarrhoea are also increasing in non-government controlled areas. The pressure on schools to accommodate displaced children is increasing because of limited number of available teachers and premises, added Mr. Dujarric.Further, OCHA underscored the urgent need for mine risk education as well and humanitarian demining as mines and other unexploded ordnance are increasingly resulting in loss of life. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) highlights that at least 109 children have been injured and 42 killed by landmines and unexploded ordnance in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts since March 2014.Meanwhile, he said the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has reported that as of 2 April, the total number of Ukrainians who have sought asylum, residence permits or other forms of legal stay in neighbouring countries has reached 777,000, with the vast majority of them in Russia. Despite the great needs, funding for humanitarian operations remains very low, with only 18 per cent of the $316 million required for 2015 having been funded or even pledged so far.
Let’s test this. Describing a meat dish as ‘British lamb’ but making it from New Zealand lamb is…— Herdwick Shepherd (@herdyshepherd1) February 12, 2017 @waitrose can you explain this ?? British meals made with NewZealand #lambs 👿👿👿 #buybritish ?? pic.twitter.com/FOQXinBFMq— rattycastle (@rattycastle) February 12, 2017 Waitrose is to rebrand some of the ready meals in its “British” range because they use meat from New Zealand.The microwaveable meals will instead be labelled “Classic”, after criticism from consumers.The change will only affect recipes containing lamb, such as the Lamb Hotpot and Shepherd’s Pie. Products made from pork, beef and chicken will keep the “British” branding, as all the meat used in those comes from the UK. The problem was first noticed last year, at which stage stickers were places on the front of the packs to make it clearer that the lamb was from New Zealand.Now the supermarket chain is to go further with by rebranding the packaging.”We are about to re-launch the range with the branding “Classic”, removing the large ‘British’ reference from the front of pack,” a spokesman for the supermarket said. “This was only ever supposed to denote the origin of the recipe but we understand why confusion has arisen.” The supermarket is now looking into getting more British meat into its ready meals.The National Farmers Union (NFU) President Meurig Raymond told the BBC: “We made our concerns very clear to Waitrose right from the beginning on this product.”The inclusion of the word ‘British’ in the brand name despite the meat being sourced from New Zealand is misleading for shoppers – and it’s frustrating for British farmers, especially those who produce lamb Waitrose could have sourced.” A farmer from the Lake District had started a poll on Twitter at the weekend asking whether the previous lamb labelling was acceptable or not.It attracted over 4,000 votes in 12 hours, with 97 per cent of respondents voting “Unacceptable (and a lie)”. @skier517 Hi Trish, ‘British’ is the name of the range of meals denoting the origin of the recipe. We understand why confusion has arisen.— Waitrose (@waitrose) February 13, 2017 Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.