UPA pleased with parts of new bud­get

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Vanier

The Union des Pro­duc­teurs agri­coles (UPA) be­lieves that the agri­food in­dus­try has fi­nally been iden­ti­fied as a key sec­tor of the econ­omy by the Que­bec Govern­ment and salutes its plan to pre­pare an agri-food strat­egy in the 2016-2017 year, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the agri­cul­tural com­mu­nity. “The govern­ment is fol­low­ing up a vast con­sen­sus in the sec­tor on its po­ten­tial for de­vel­op­ment and its pos­si­ble con­tri­bu­tion in re­launch­ing the econ­omy. It is ex­cel­lent news and we are ready for ac­tion!” said the gen­eral pres­i­dent of the UPA, Mar­cel Groleau.

The bud­get for the PCTFA (Pro­gramme de credit de taxes foncieres agri­coles) will go up by $8.3 mil­lion. The govern­ment has also an­nounced a re­form to fa­cil­i­tate govern­ment man­age­ment, but they must go fur­ther. Farm busi­nesses, be­cause of the bi­ased eval­u­a­tion of farm as­sets and un­equal tax­a­tion, sup­port more and more a dis­pro­por­tion­ate part of mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices. That’s why there is the ne­ces­sity for a com­plete re­vi­sion of the farm prop­erty tax sys­tem.

Dif­fer­ent mea­sures, such as the im­prove­ment of the Pro­gramme Ex­por­ta­teurs de classe mon­di­ale, the putting in place of a re­search con­sor­tium on food trans­for­ma­tion, the ex­pan­sion of the land drainage sup­port pro­gram, and the bet­ter po­si­tion­ing of Que­bec spir­its in the SAQ net­work should also be noted. The in­tro­duc­tion of mea­sures to en­cour­age forestry work on wooded prop­er­ties is also good news.

It re­mains to be seen, once the new strat­egy is fi­nal­ized, if the govern­ment will pro­vide the means to put the changes into ac­tion. Af­ter cuts of more than $200 mil­lion in the last few years in the Agri­cul­ture, Fish­eries and Food sec­tor, the govern­ment has an­nounced an­other $23.3 mil­lion in bud­get cuts. This amount rep­re­sents a re­duc­tion of 2.6% while the over­all bud­get for the prov­ince has in­creased by 2.4%. Among the more sub­stan­tial cuts were: the FADQ bud­get, down by $9.5 mil­lion; the sup­port of re­gional de­vel­op­ment, down by $13.7 mil­lion; and the sup­port to the trans­for­ma­tion sec­tor, down by $6.4 mil­lion.

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