Pesticides Commission: a first step towards sustainable agriculture

The Union Growers Association (UPA) and Équiterre are asking the Commission for bold recommendations to protect health and our environment.

The parliamentary committee (CAPERN) responsible for taking stock of the high-profile issue of pesticides last fall will soon publish its recommendations to the Quebec government. For the Union of Agricultural Producers and Équiterre, CAPERN's recommendations should make it possible to set up a solid foundation for a resolute transition to sustainable agriculture from an environmental, social and economic point of view.

This foundation should, in our view, be based on:

- a reinvestment by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Quebec (MAPAQ) in supporting producers and in agri-environment advisory clubs;

- a significant increase in the budgets allocated to independent research on the impact of pesticides, the development of best practices and the identification of effective and viable alternatives;

- the implementation of a payment for environmental goods and services in order to recognize the contribution of farmers and to financially support their efforts, while making the whole of society benefit from environmental compensation;

- adequate support and promotion of organic production, which has experienced significant growth in recent years and whose economic, environmental and health benefits have the potential to contribute significantly to the collective effort.

We would like to emphasize that all of these elements must be integrated into an approach aimed at protecting and improving the production capacity of Quebec soils.

We are of the opinion that the solutions which will result from the recommendations of the CAPERN report will have to ensure the viability of the agricultural sector, the protection of the environment and the health of Quebecers. The question of pesticides is a societal issue which goes far beyond agricultural and environmental questions alone, and raises challenges also relating to public health, education and the vitality of our regions.

The Union des producteurs agricoles and Équiterre therefore hope that the issues addressed by the Commission and the expected responses will be treated as priorities by this government.

As such, our organizations are asking the government to show initiative and set up a multi-stakeholder committee, including the departments concerned (MAPAQ, Department of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Department of Health and Social Services, and Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing) and key civil society actors, to monitor the implementation of the Commission's recommendations.

Source: La Presse

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