Québec’s largest farm organization and three provincial commodity groups want the provincial government for more financial help following a summer of severe weather events.

L’Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), l’Association des producteurs maraîchers du Québec (APMQ-vegetable producers), l’Association des producteurs de fraises et framboises du Québec (APFFQ-strawberry and raspberry producers), les Producteurs de pommes de terre du Québec (PPTQ-potato producers) et les Producteurs de légumes de transformation du Québec (PLTQ-processing vegetable producers) are asking the Québec government for urgent help in the wake of extreme weather events, which have been painfully experienced in recent weeks by hundreds of horticultural producers.

“The frequency and intensity of weather anomalies have caused exceptionally high damage in most regions of Québec. The consequences are both numerous and disastrous for a large number of producers. Rapid support is needed more than ever, especially since the usual programs have not been designed to address the growing risks of climate change,” said UPA General President Martin Caron.

The UPA believes it is already certain that food supply problems will arise. Retailers and wholesalers are likely to find that they will have to fall back on foreign markets, because Québec products will not be available in sufficient quantities. Moreover, the financial consequences for businesses are serious and worrying, even going so far as to compromise the future of several farms.

“Producers are asking for emergency measures to be put in place in order to obtain more support, especially for affected businesses whose continuation of activities is uncertain. Rapid intervention by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Québec is therefore required, any enhancement of the programs of the ministry or of La Financière agricole du Québec (FADQ—provincial crop insurance and agricultural finance agency) requiring its approval,” said QPAM President Catherine Lefebvre.

The UPA wants financing for work to preserve recoverable harvests, an improvement of the new ad hoc program of the FADQ (announced last May) aimed at supporting agricultural businesses affected by inflation, the withdrawal of the intervention limit based on net profit for the Agri‐Québec Plus program, the deferral of premium payments to the crop insurance program, and a payment holiday on FADQ loans.

“These measures would alleviate the financial pressure that is hampering business profitability, would greatly help the sector recover and allow farms to move forward with the establishments planned for 2024,” said APFFQ President Michel Sauriol.

“If the Government of Québec officially recognizes the state of disaster of the crops concerned, financial institutions and suppliers could, in particular, decree a moratorium on the payment of loan repayments and invoices”, added PPTQ Vice-President Pierre-Luc Barre.

Beyond the urgent aid, the five organizations insisted on the shortcomings of current risk management programs which do not allow companies to face extreme climatic situations. The UPA wants the reforms made quickly in order to eliminate what it calls structural shortcomings and make programs more flexible and better adapted to what it describes as a new reality.

“The Government of Québec must immediately formulate a clear intention to deepen the needs that are emerging in the sector due to climate change. The modernization of the programs, demanded for several years, simply cannot wait any longer,” concluded the PLTQ President Pascal Forest.