UPA fears “fi­nan­cial­iza­tion” of farm­land

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Vanier

As the United Na­tions-de­clared “In­ter­na­tional Year of Fam­ily Farm­ing” comes to an end, the Union des pro­duc­teurs agri­coles (UPA) has is­sued a state­ment about its con­cern over the grow­ing phe­nom­e­non of the mo­nop­o­liza­tion and “fi­nan­cial­iza­tion” of farm­land and their ef­fects, in par­tic­u­lar, on the next gen­er­a­tion of en­tre­pre­neur­ial farm­ers. Ac­cord­ing to the UPA, in Que­bec, thou­sands of hectares are presently owned by cor­po­ra­tions such as Pangea, In­vesterre Inc. and Parte­naires agri­coles S.E.C., and the move­ment is grow­ing. “The business model pro­posed by th­ese in­vest­ment cor­po­ra­tions is an empty shell in which the young farm­ers have no in­volve­ment in the as­sets, but do par­tic­i­pate in the risks of the op­er­a­tion,” com­mented the gen­eral pres­i­dent of the UPA, Mar­cel Groleau.

The majority of farm trans­ac­tions that are not in­ter­gen­er­a­tional are now done with in­vest­ment cor­po­ra­tions and pro­duc­ers of­ten feel that the cor­po­ra­tions have ‘got­ten the bet­ter of them’. The next gen­er­a­tion of farm­ers, when not re­lated to a farm holder, can­not com­pete with

the cor­po­ra­tions. More and more ex­am­ples of this are be­ing brought to the at­ten­tion of the UPA.

“It would take three hun­dred in­vestors, own­ing 10,000 hectares each, to re­place the 30,000 farms in Que­bec. Is this re­ally what we want?” said Mr. Groleau. “The in­vest­ment cor­po­ra­tions de­scribe them­selves as a last hope for the next gen­er­a­tion of farm­ers. In re­al­ity, th­ese cor­po­ra­tions, through their spec­u­la­tive in­vest­ments, desta­bi­lize the mar­ket,” con­tin­ued the pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­a­tion de la releve agri­cole du Que­bec (FRAQ), Pas­cal Hudon, who added that the pe­ti­tion against the mo­nop­o­liz­ing of land, re­cently put on line by the fed­er­a­tion, has al­ready re­ceived 2,400 sig­na­tures.

Ac­cord­ing to the UPA and the FRAQ, Que­bec can­not de­lay putting in place in­ter­ven­tions to con­trol the ap­petite of the in­vest­ment cor­po­ra­tions. The gov­ern­ment must be aware of the sit­u­a­tion and follow the trends. That’s why mea­sures are re­quired for a three year pe­riod dur­ing which the ac­qui­si­tion of land by cor­po­ra­tions or share­hold­ers of mul­ti­ple cor­po­ra­tions should be set to a max­i­mum of 100 hectares a year. The trans­fer of farms to the next gen­er­a­tion should be ex­empt from this mea­sure. This would al­low the gov­ern­ment to make a real anal­y­sis and come up with global so­lu­tions, not just about the mo­nop­o­liz­ing of farm­land, but also on ac­cess to the pro­fes­sion by the next gen­er­a­tion of en­tre­pre­neur­ial farm­ers.

“At his swear­ing-in cer­e­mony, the Premier asked his Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture to find so­lu­tions to this prob­lem. Eight months later, the Min­is­ter has asked us to re­port the facts even though his min­istry has the in­for­ma­tion and the room to ma­noeu­ver to re­act,” con­cluded Mr. Groleau.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.