Speed Reading — Maple Syrup - Level 3 — 300 wpm

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Changing weather patterns and an increase in demand have led to a shortage of maple syrup. Worldwide stocks of everyone's favourite pancake topping have gone down. This has caused Canada to release 22 million kilograms of the sweet, sticky stuff into the market. Canada is the world's largest producer of maple syrup. The province of Quebec produces almost three-quarters of global supply. Canada keeps huge amounts of it for emergencies. The syrup it has just released is almost half of those emergency reserves. A spokeswoman for Quebec's maple syrup producers said there would be no shortages. She said: "That's why the reserve is made.…We won't lack maple syrup."

A warmer spring this year has reduced syrup supplies. Maple trees need warm daytime and freezing nighttime temperatures to produce syrup. A warmer and shorter spring led to a poorer harvest than usual. Another factor is worldwide demand for maple syrup. This has increased by more than 20 per cent this year. One major reason for this rise is the coronavirus pandemic. More people are at home, cooking pancakes and waffles. It is possible that more of us have developed a sweet tooth. The Quebec spokeswoman said: "The pandemic helped our case because we're seeing people cook more at home and use more local products. It's not just in Quebec where the demand is increasing."

Comprehension questions
  1. What has led to a maple syrup shortage besides increased demand?
  2. How many kgs of maple syrup has Canada released from its reserves?
  3. How much of the world's maple syrup does Quebec produce?
  4. What does Canada keep huge amounts of maple syrup for?
  5. Who said there would not be a lack of maple syrup?
  6. What kinds of nighttime temperatures do trees need to produce syrup?
  7. What was poorer than usual this year?
  8. What was a major reason for the increase in demand for maple syrup?
  9. What might many of us have developed?
  10. What kinds of products are people using more of?

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