Reaction to Bill 599 from UPA and FRAQ
The Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) and the Federation de la releve agricole du Quebec (FRAQ) welcome the objectives of the projet de loi 599 visant a contrer l’accaparement des terres agricoles, deposited last Thursday at the National Assembly of Quebec by the MNA of Berthier and spokesperson for the official opposition in agriculture, André Villeneuve.
“The measures in the bill can be perfected, but they can at least break the inaction of the government,” commented Michele Lalancette, the president of the FRAQ. The monopolization of land is a big concern of farmers and of the next generation of farmers.
According to the UPA, the fifteen biggest agricultural companies have acquired, in only five years, more than 27,000 hectares of land, an invest- ment of $121.7 million. Among the measures in the bill is the obligation to obtain the support of the Commission de protection du territoire agricole (CPTAQ) for all land buys if the total area owned is more than 100 hectares. The acquisition would be authorized if the purchaser is a confirmed agricultural producer. The bill also includes the requirement that all transactions in agricultural zones, regardless of size, be reported to the Commission.
“It is clear that without the intervention of the State, the monopolization of agricultural land will lead to the abandon of many consolidation projects and the establishment of the next generation of farmers, because it is impossible for the producers to compete with investment companies,” said the president of the UPA, Marcel Groleau.