In the media, in general, journalists call elected officials to speak with them. This time the Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food contacted me.
It’s all about talking, explaining to me Andre Lamontagne’s political affiliation. “He has been reading you for a long time. ”
Shocked and in my care, but most of all curious, I agreed. A few weeks later, for an interview at the Le Jermaine Hotel in Montreal, the antivirus protocol gin was reversible.
In almost two hours of conversation, all sorts of things were discussed. He assured me that he really wants to modernize Quebec farming with his sustainable plan, that he wants to increase winter production with his aid policy for the greenhouse, which unfortunately is not part of the pesticide work. Quebecars both fruits and vegetables and seafood have to be made by the Ministry of Environment who want to eat more food from here. I learned that he read everything he wrote about agriculture here – he told me about one of my reports on Slovenian cooperation – and that he was not a fan of eels fishing in the St. River – Laurent.
Even during this exchange – with “Jean-Martin” (Fortier, the star of small organic farming), “with Colombo” (Saint-Pierre, the irrepressible chef and his conversations with the Apostle of local consumption) or with “Fernando” (Oulet, Roosecomb) Pilot of a small slaughterhouse project for poultry producer and small producers from Unduck) – I understand that this exchange is one of dozens and dozens. Almost everyone who talked about Quebec agriculture, its shortcomings and challenges, has met the Minister since the beginning of the millennium.
Journalists, however, are, above all, agronomists, farmers, fishermen, processors, representatives of all kinds of groups from all walks of life under this vast ministry.
If there’s one thing we can’t blame Andre Lamontagne, it’s being disconnected from the reality he must see.
Apparently, to hear him speak, he solved all the problems, or he was going to do so. A reform is coming to oversee agronomists well and they are happy too. The minister explained that Quebec farm workers worked well on the farms last summer. Displacement of foreign workers despite COVID-19. And “in Quebec, we are ahead of everyone,” he replies when I talk about the working conditions of temporary workers. We see them well.
Pesticides? The Ministry of Environment takes care of this. Barriers to marketing of small farm products? “We are in the process of changing what a short circuit is. So irritations should be avoided. Problems with very strict quotas in poultry? “A program is ready to lay hens. ”
One day, he was told that “dumb environmental standards” had to change. “I asked for a list. ”
The minister wants the issues to be resolved. Go through the to-do list and check out the items.
“I create what I want, as much as possible,” he says.
“What can I do to deploy the elk?” Can everyone unleash their potential? ”
In response to many of the issues I raised, he was irritated by the sale of agricultural produce, the laying of eggs, the small slaughterhouses, etc. He answers: “Some time ago, that was no longer a problem. ”
In fact, the minister explains that the time he invests in liberating, promoting and assisting local agriculture is unparalleled compared to the land occupied by this farm in the general farm picture.
“It simply came to our notice then. ”
Because there is often so much hub about issues that are very easy to solve. You need to take the time to do this. And put his foot on the ground.
But when all is said and done, what are we talking about?
Or, finally, when young children are able to sell their natural eggs, organic vegetables, and raw milk cheese at nearby markets, where is the large-scale farming when there is organic winter farming everywhere?
Cultivates monoculture, which uses GMOs and pesticides, which most often abuse soil and waterways …
Here. When all this is resolved, we will have to talk again about pesticides, chemical fertilizers, farmers’ health, profitability, marketing. And most of all, minimizing all of these factors to talk about diversification. Allowing farmers to keep high profit margins, but also protected by variety.
The farmer who tries organically and loses the entire crop of beans or broccoli takes enormous risk by not working this technique, the minister reminded me in this interview, justifying the reluctance of some to take this important turn. .
Hence, I replied that I should talk about multiple product.
What is dangerous is not to take an organic approach, let go of chemicals or move naturally in the future.
The risk in farming is always to keep all your eggs in one basket.