As the Quebec food summit closed its doors a few days ago, it is a pretty fitting time to take a look at what is happening in Quebec’s agricultural world. During his visit to the summit, the prime minister reiterated the governments commitment towards organic agriculture in the province saying he wants a more systematic implementation of organic food in schools, hospitals and senior’s home after being inspired by what he has seen happening in Denmark.
So what has been and will be done to help achieve this goal ?
It all started in 2004 when a monitoring and labelling system was put in place to help assure consumers of the authenticity of products and the respect of standards and norms to be respected.
With the labelling in place, there has been an increasing demand from the consumer for organic products in Quebec, and the province is now the Canadian leader in terms of the percentage of companies certified with just over 4%. But the demand is rising faster than the production at a pace of 16% a year which means there is room for this industry to grow, and that’s great news!
As more citizens are acting as informed consumers about the food they’re buying the government has been focusing on helping the growth of organic agriculture in Quebec.
The best way to help the transition is through financial support of companies in the organic sector and the government seems to be putting their money where their mouth is. A few measures have been put in place to help newcomers to organic agriculture as well as businesses looking to change their farming practice. Financial aid exists to transform the way the land itself is used as well as infrastructure to match the standards set before. But thesis changes are not always easy to make and farmers might need help through the transition. That’s why this program finance up to 85% of the help than can be needed while working with agri-environmental advisory clubs that help guide farmers.
Although it’s a great start, more things have to be done. Around 1.7 million dollars have been transferred to the Quebec Committee for promotion of organic agriculture to raise awareness in the population about the importance of buying local organic grown food. As much as three billion dollars will also be invested to help coordinate these initiatives with other ministries into a global organic agri-food policy. This coordination is very important and necessary as the food industry impacts more than one sector of our society. This effort will also be combined with a push toward buying more products to local farmers in order to lower the footprint of the food Quebecers consume.
These decisions will have a positive impact on the planet as well as on consumers’ health.