Despite the heavy rains of recent weeks, the government does not intend to recognize the northern part of Lac-Saint-Jean as a disaster area, much to the chagrin of the Union des producteurs agricole (UPA).
The sector between Saint-Prime and Chambord, and in particular Albanel and Normandin, has received more than 240 millimeters of rain for a month. These heavy rains have caused an almost insurmountable delay in the planting season, which is already affecting harvests. No Financière agricole program covers such a situation.
The MEPs of the CAQ, who were invited to comment on the situation on Wednesday before the Cercle de presse du Saguenay, have recognized the problem and promise to act as soon as possible.
“We are taking notes on who should suffer casualties,” said Minister in charge of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Andrée Laforest. We spoke to Agriculture Minister André Lamontagne, who offers us his support. Of course we help, but how?
“Growers can still sow until June 20 or 25,” added Lac-Saint-Jean MP Éric Girard, himself a former grower. We’ll take stock at the end of their season, but I have a lot of empathy for the producers.
The agriculture minister spoke to UPA regional president Mario Théberge by telephone on Tuesday morning. The latter did not hide his disappointment.
“It was very short. The only answer he gave me was that he was monitoring the situation and we would see how it would develop. To be honest, I’ve seen better empathy,” he complained.
The UPA fears catastrophe for producers, who have already struck the most tempting deals in a long time with buyers. What happens if these contracts cannot be honored?
“Producers called their buyers to tell them that if they couldn’t deliver, they would have to pay the contract,” explained Mr Théberge. We’re talking $300,000, $400,000 and sometimes even $500,000, not to mention the inputs that have already been paid for.”
“The distress signals, we’re already seeing them,” he continued. There are producers who cannot sleep at night. Some will have liquidity problems. companies are threatened. We will lose players.”
The manufacturers will therefore stand up to the government, supported by their national association.
“We don’t have to think about what to do in six months,” said Mario Théberge. We need a signal that the government is taking the situation seriously and we are not getting that from Minister Lamontagne at the moment.”