UPA-Estrie holds an­nual congress

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Vanier

Last Thurs­day, del­e­gates from the dif­fer­ent unions that are part of the Fed­er­a­tion de l’UPA-Estrie came to­gether for the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s 81st an­nual congress un­der the theme: “To­gether, de­vel­op­ing agri­cul­ture”. “The de­posit of a first Poli­tique que­be­coise de sou­veraineté al­i­men­taire (a Que­bec pol­icy on food sovereignty) marks the end of a very long pe­riod of con­sul­ta­tions and al­lows us to move to ac­tion,” said the vice-pres­i­dent of the Union, Pierre Lemieux. It was in those terms that he de­scribed the state of the spirit of Que­bec farm fam­i­lies who, like their fel­low cit­i­zens and their other part­ners in the food in­dus- try, have wel­comed the pol­icy that was de­posited last spring by the Que­bec gov­ern­ment.

The farm­ing sec­tor waited sev­eral years for a pol­icy that would al­low the agri-food sec­tor to po­si­tion it­self on all the mar­kets, fore­see­ing the strong de­mo­graphic growth of the com­ing decades. The Poli­tique que­be­coise de sou­veraineté al­i­men­taire, as pre­sented by the vice-pre­mier and Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Fran­cois Gen­dron, in this sense is bet­ting on the strong trends such as the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and in­creas­ing pres­ence of lo­cal prod­ucts, dy­namic use of land, the de­vel­op­ment of our biofood po­ten­tial and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.

“The farm producers of Que­bec have spe­cific ex­pec­ta­tions re­gard­ing, no­tably, the buy­ing of lo­cal prod­ucts and the amount of Que­bec food on our plates. Re­mem­ber that an in­crease of just one ad­di­tional per­cent­age point of Que­bec pro­duce on our plates trans­lates into an in­crease of around $75 mil­lion in farm sales, as well as hav­ing pos­i­tive ef­fects on the econ­omy of our re­gions,” con­tin­ued the re-elected pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­a­tion de l’UPAEstrie, Fran­cois Bourassa.

The Fed­er­a­tion de l’UPA-Estrie, in an ef­fort to be an ex­am­ple, is in favour of buy­ing the prod­ucts of Crea­teurs de saveurs Can­tons-de-l’Est for their ac­tiv­i­ties. The meals and snacks served at the meet­ing were al­most en­tirely pre­pared with prod­ucts of that mark. (visit http://cre­a­teurs­de­saveurs.com).

The Fed­er­a­tion also be­lieves that it is im­por­tant, if we want to ex­ploit the full agri­cul­tural po­ten­tial of our re­gions, to lift the mora­to­rium on the ex­pan­sion of cul­ti­vated farm land. Since De­cem­ber of 2004, the Re­gle­ment sur les ex­ploita­tions agri­coles (REA) does not al­low for any more farm­land be­ing de­vel­oped on the de­graded drainage basins of 573 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties. It be­lieves that this rul­ing is no longer nec­es­sary be­cause the agri­cul­tural sec­tor had adopted im­pres­sive sus­tain­able farm­ing prac­tises. Only agri­cul­ture has been tar­geted by stop­ping its growth and, in many re­gions, the amount of land be­ing cul­ti­vated is di­min­ish­ing to the ben­e­fit of other uses, no­tably, for res­i­den­tial pur­poses which gen­er­ates more phos­phates per sur­face unit.

The ex­is­tence of ef­fec­tive tools to sup­port risk man­age­ment in all sec­tors of pro­duc­tion and of­fer producers a greater sta­bil­ity as well as a bet­ter pro­tec­tion of their ac­tiv­i­ties, is also a pri­or­ity. In this re­gard, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s bud­get cuts for risk man­age­ment tools weak­ens more than half of our farm­ing en­ter­prises and the hes­i­ta­tion of Que­bec to com­pen­sate for th­ese bud­get cuts, by the cre­ation of a tran­si­tion pro­gram, is dis­ap­point­ing.

Another pri­or­ity: the pro­tec­tion of the ter­ri­tory

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

The UPA would like the mora­to­rium on the ex­pan­sion of cul­ti­vated farm­land to end.

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