Photo: Graham Hughes The canadian Press
The big players in the world agri-food demand additional financial support from governments, saying that “the current programs do not meet absolutely no issues outstanding that we are going through”.
The government Legault is open to give further assistance to the agricultural sector, according to the minister of Agriculture, André Lamontagne, who, however, remained vague on the form that could take this boost.
“What we always said is that if it were necessary that there are pieces of rink are not covered, although the government of Quebec will be there to accompany [the farmers] because of the exceptional situations, of course, there are exceptional responses that may occur “, he stated during a media scrum virtual after its passage by the parliamentary commission on Thursday. It was the first time that the opposition parties could question the minister of Agriculture since the beginning of the pandemic.
Earlier in the day, six players in the agri-food sector had launched a cry from the heart. The Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), Sollio co-operative Group, Agropur Cooperative, the Association québécoise des industries de nutrition animale and cereal (AQINAC), the Council of the food processing du Québec (CTAQ) and Exceldor had demanded a financial assistance to help cope with the insecurity caused by the crisis.
“Current programs do not meet absolutely no issues outstanding that we are going through, said the president general of the UPA), Marcel Groleau, in a press release. This is to mislead the producers and the citizens that declare the opposite, as do our governments. “
The federal government recently announced $ 252 million in support to farmers, to food companies and food processors. However, the canadian Federation of agriculture asked rather a contingency fund of $ 2.6 billion.
“The food chain, it is a word, but it is a wide range of sectors who have issues very different, who have very different realities, and then the government of Quebec came in support with all these areas in different ways since the beginning of the crisis,” recalled the minister, Lamontagne. He then listed the different forms of aid which have been offered as the program of $ 45 million to encourage Quebecers to work in the fields of the programs of support to workers and enterprises of the ministries of Finance and of the Economy. He also welcomed the robustness of the food supply chain in Quebec, since despite the crisis, the quebec families have not missed anything.
The passage of the minister by a parliamentary committee has left the opposition parties on their hunger. “The minister seemed to say that all was well in agriculture, it does not seem to be major issues and that, therefore, the program responded to the need,” said the Party mp from quebec, Sylvain Roy. The other hand, what is meant is exactly the opposite : farmers are not going well. “
“I was really surprised to see the extent to which the minister of Agriculture does not seem to draw the same conclusions that a large part of the population of quebec on this that reveals to us the crisis of the COVID-19 on the fragility of our agricultural system by our imports, our foreign workforce, through our channels that are dedicated to the export, which meet all kinds of problems, underlined, for his part, the member of Québec solidaire, Émilise Lessard-Therrien. Even our productions under supply management that are supposed to be balanced, as were the costs of the pandemic. “
“We still see that there is a degree of improvisation in the call to the fields has been done, has denounced, for its part, the liberal mp, Marie Montpetit. The minister said that there were over 7000 people who had registered last week, while this morning we see that there are 100 who have been called. Therefore, it is to wonder what will happen with the other people who raised their hand. “
The minister Lamontagne indicated that 85 % of the foreign workers including the agricultural sector needs currently are already in Quebec, despite the challenges caused by the pandemic. The rest of the needs will be felt in the course of the summer season and Quebecers who have given their name may receive a call from the agricultural enterprises to the research arm.
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