UPA pleased with parts of new budget
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.