MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Nov. 9, 2012) - Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and François Gendron, Quebec Deputy Premier and Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, held their first meeting yesterday in Montreal in a spirit of collaboration in support of the long term development of Quebec's agriculture and agri-food sector.
"I recognize that producers in certain regions of Quebec are facing difficult decisions as a result of the drought this summer," stated Minister Ritz. "I want to assure Quebec producers that we are working closely with the Government of Quebec to complete an assessment of the situation that reflects the unique circumstances in these regions."
Federal and provincial officials are evaluating the impact of the drought on producers who suffered losses. They agreed on the importance of completing the assessment as soon as possible. Once the assessment is complete, Governments will move quickly using existing programs including AgriStability, AgriInvest and AgriRecovery.
The meeting was also an opportunity to discuss various issues related to agriculture and agri-food development in Quebec. In particular, the ministers discussed the implementation of the next agriculture policy framework, Growing Forward 2, which will enable the federal and provincial governments to help producers and processors, in Quebec and across Canada, develop their businesses and stimulate our economy by opening new markets and investing in innovation and competitiveness.
Ministers also touched on the financial pressures facing the Quebec's hog industry and on the progress made with the government-industry action plan announced October 24th. Ministers reiterated they and their officials continue to closely monitor the issue.
Ministers reiterated the importance of Canada's egg, dairy and poultry systems, which provides fair market returns, stability for farmers, certainty of supply to processors, and ensures that consumer demand for safe, high quality products is met. As new economic opportunities for Canadian farmers are pursued, such as through a free trade agreement with the European Union, our government will continue to defend Canadian industries, including supply management.
In addition, the ministers were pleased to have come to an agreement in principle on the definition of the ice wine standard. The ministers believe it is important that grapes for ice wine production are naturally frozen on the vine in order to protect the integrity of the final product.
"This amicable meeting set the foundation for a relationship that I hope will be constructive for the benefit of Quebec's farmers and its entire agriculture sector. The issues are significant and I made my colleagues aware of the Quebec difference in the agri-food area," said Minister François Gendron.