UPA not happy with cuts in agriculture
The Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) considers the budget cuts of 14.5 % in agriculture dangerous. The insecurity created by the cuts could have disastrous impacts on the investment decisions of agricultural producers.
To announce to producers that the Financiere agricole du Quebec (FADQ) doesn’t have the funds needed if the markets or the weather don’t cooperate is certainly not a good idea in such a risky sector. For example, the markets for pork and cereals are presently at a low and no-one can predict where they will go in the next twelve months.
In its budget speech (2015 – 2016), the government announced cuts of $151 million to the annual FADQ budget (25%). This decision makes the agriculture sector the most affected and is bad for investment, for emerging producers, for employment and regional development. To avoid the negative consequences of such an announcement, the government should reveal to the producers its long-term intentions.
Agriculture and food transformation are the key elements of the Quebec economy. Each year those sectors employ more than 200,000 (one of every twenty jobs in Quebec) and generate revenues of roughly $4.5 billion for different levels of government.
It is crucial that the 2015-2016 exercise is not one of transition and the necessary budgets will return in 2016-2017 for a period of five years. If not, the durability of the agricultural sector will be in question, our enterprises will be weakened, and thousands of Quebec jobs will be threatened.
Where is the need addressed of a clear agreement as recommended by the FADQMAPAQ-UPA work group on the security of revenue which was transmitted to the Minister of Agriculture last December? These recommendations were part of a consensus and many of them could be implemented this year, despite the constraints announced. Nothing for private forests
The UPA is not happy that the budget does not include investing in private forests to support the stimulation of the forest industry in all regions of Quebec. More than 130,000 individuals, families, small businesses and large corporations hold 6.5 million hectares of Quebec forests. Of that number, about 35,000 are forest producers. The harvesting of private wood represents 15% of the supply for the factories. The wood harvesting activities done in private forests generates about 25,000 jobs and revenues of $2.5 billion a year for the individuals, businesses and organizations involved. Interesting measures
As one of the biggest networks of small to medium sized (SME) businesses in Quebec, the UPA responded favorably to the measures to lighten the fiscal load of SMEs in the primary sector along with the new rules regarding the transfer of businesses between relatives, something the UPA has demanded for many years.