Farm­ers need good rep­re­sen­ta­tion

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Coat­i­cook

The Union des Pro­duc­teurs Agri­coles (UPA) will be pay­ing close at­ten­tion to the study of the 2016-2017 cred­its by the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture in the Na­tional Assembly of Que­bec to­day. “MAPAQ seems to be giv­ing up more and more their eco­nomic vo­ca­tion, to the detri­ment of the com­pet­i­tive­ness of our en­ter­prises. Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans must ask good ques­tions,” said the UPA president, Mar­cel Groleau.

The mem­bers of the Com­mis­sion de l’agri­cul­ture, des pecheries, de l’en­ergie et des ressources na­turelles (CAPERN) have the op­por­tu­nity to ques­tion the Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Pierre Par­adis, on the bud­get pri­or­i­ties of his min­istry for the com­ing year. It will be the op­por­tu­nity, for par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, to have spe­cific and de­tailed an­swers on the ma­jor is­sues in the world of agri­cul­ture.

In their strate­gic plan for 2015 – 2018, de­posited last month, MAPAQ men­tioned that the wishes of the con­sumers and cit­i­zens will guide the ori­en­ta­tions and the action pri­or­i­ties dur­ing this pe­riod of re­flec­tion, no­tably, the use of pes­ti­cides, the well-be­ing of an­i­mals, the avail­abil­ity of or­ganic foods and health foods.

MAPAQ has also men­tioned, briefly, that it wants to pro­mote the in­ter­ests of the Que­bec bio­food sec­tor in com­mer­cial ne­go­ti­a­tions; that they will de­fend the sup­ply man­age­ment sys­tem; and they will fo­cus on cre­at­ing tools to man­age risk. How­ever, no con­crete in­ter­ven­tion has been men­tioned. “To re­spond to the ex­pec­ta­tions of

con­sumers, the pro­duc­ers are in need of a com­pet­i­tive agri­cul­tural pol­icy. Que­bec, un­for­tu­nately, is be­hind in this chap­ter,” con­tin­ued Mr. Groleau.

The in­come se­cu­rity dossier is ma­jor in as­sur­ing the de­vel­op­ment of the agri­cul­tural sec­tor and the es­tab­lish­ment of young peo­ple in the field. In 2014, a work­ing group made up of the UPA, MAPAQ and the Fi­nanciere agri­cole du Que­bec (FADQ) were lean­ing to­wards the re­work­ing of pro­grams. Their re­port con­tain­ing unan­i­mous rec­om­men­da­tions was given to the Min­is­ter at the be­gin­ning of 2015.

In their bud­get speech of 2016-2017, the Que­bec govern­ment an­nounced that they will pro­ceed to re­form the Pro­gramme de credit de taxes foncieres agri­coles (PCTFA) and they will trans­fer man­age­ment of it to Revenu Que­bec. The govern­ment also an­nounced that, as of Jan­uary 1st, 2017, ex­ploited farm­land by a farmer reg­is­tered with MAPAQ will be ad­mis­si­ble to fi­nan­cial aid cor­re­spond­ing to 78% of the value of the mu­nic­i­pal taxes. Ac­cord­ing to the govern­ment, this per­cent­age is equiv­a­lent glob­ally to the level of sup­port presently given to those in the pro­gram. Ac­cord­ing to the UPA, noth­ing could be farther from the truth.

The new pro­gram ap­plies one rate only of 78%; it ex­cludes school taxes and abol­ishes the 100% credit of the first $300 in taxes. The credit of 85 % of the cost of taxes for eval­u­a­tion that ex­ceed $1,813 per hectare has also been abol­ished. When all these changes are taken into con­sid­er­a­tion, the im­pact rep­re­sents an av­er­age in­crease of 30 to 40 % of the bill as­sumed by the farm pro­duc­ers.

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