Food self-sufficiency programs ill-suited to regions, according to the UPA

According to the Union des producteurs agricoles de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UPA), even though the Government of Quebec has announced several assistance measures to promote food self-sufficiency, some of these programs are little or not adapted to regional reality. .



Food self-sufficiency is increasingly being promoted, but Abitibi-Témiscamingue is not being favored by assistance from Quebec, believes the UPA.  (archives)


© François Gagnon / Radio-Canada
Food self-sufficiency is increasingly being promoted, but Abitibi-Témiscamingue is not being favored by assistance from Quebec, believes the UPA. (archives)

For its president, Pascal Rheault, the problem is that government programs do not take into account local realities.

Same story for the president general of the UPA, Marcel Groleau. Cereal production is one of the examples that Mr. Groleau does not hesitate to use to illustrate the situation.

«There is no difference between producing wheat in Quebec and producing wheat in Abitibi-Témiscamingue in terms of support programs. So, if the risks are higher in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, producers are less interested in going towards these productions because they do not have good coverage or as good risk coverage as if they were at the Center. -of Quebec», He explains.

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The achievement of food autonomy is at the center of the concerns of the UPA. About 80 local producers will take advantage of the federation’s annual general meeting to define the ways and means of achieving this.

For Pascal Rheault, the COVID-19 pandemic has sounded the alarm. “COVID has nevertheless raised awareness of the importance of our regional agriculture and of consuming our products.», He emphasizes.

In this project, farmers in the region have so far been able to count on the support of local customers. For the co-owner of Les Jardins Tomates et Camomille de Rouyn-Noranda, Kamylle Béchard-Plourde, it is a win-win exchange between the producer and the consumer.

«My clients, when they encourage us, they have the impression of participating in a project. They make purchases that are responsible for the environment, for their own health“, she says. The farmer reveals that in return she “keeps the economy going” in her own way, by hiring staff, for example.

The positive response from the population has enabled Abitibi-Témiscamingue farmers to consolidate their businesses. About thirty new farms were created in 2020 in the region.

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