Who Are We?
The Quebec Produce Growers Association (QPGA) – known in French as the Association des producteurs maraîchers du Québec (APMQ) – brings together leading horticultural producers from across the province. Together, our members are responsible for more than 80% of the produce grown in Quebec, making the QPGA a powerful industry force.
- Safeguard the interests of our 450 members, recruited on a voluntary basis
- Take concrete action to promote the development of the horticultural industry
- Speak for and negotiate on behalf of the sector in dealings with policymakers
- Run the Place des producteurs (800,000 sf), located in the heart of Montreal’s Marché central, Eastern Canada’s largest produce wholesale market, as well as one public market in the Montreal suburbs of La Prairie.
We provide a range of services to our members, including support for technology-oriented R&D. We strive to be a positive and powerful market influence and run promotional programs such as eatquebec.ca to shine the spotlight on Quebec products.
For more than 70 years, we have drawn on our extensive experience to showcase Quebec-grown fruits and vegetables and advocate for the economic, social and environmental interests of horticultural producers. Join us… and cultivate your passion!
A Word from the President
Taking over the reins of the Quebec Produce Growers Association (QPGA) is an exciting challenge and a unique opportunity to work hand-in-hand with you to promote the visibility and sustainability of our industry.
As you well know, the expectations facing today’s produce growers are greater than ever. We need to develop our operations without losing sight of the importance of sustainability, to ensure food safety from both a quality and a quantity perspective, and to adapt to consumers’ changing requirements.
In the eyes of agricultural and agri-food stakeholders, the QPGA plays a demonstrably critical role in the horticultural industry and the economic and commercial vitality of the market. Our dynamic approach has put us front and centre of Quebec’s agri-food strategy.
With this recognition inevitably comes greater responsibility, which our team accepts wholeheartedly on behalf of our members. In the coming year, we will be moving forward with a partnership strategy linking our industry and the government – efforts that are vital to our ongoing development. For many small and medium-sized horticultural businesses, growing their domestic and foreign market share is contingent on programs focusing on adapted risk management and enhanced competitiveness as well as support for innovation.
The horticultural sector as a whole must learn to embrace globalization and the fast-paced, even brutal, changes that come with it. More than ever, our association must show strong leadership in our dealings with our industry partners and government agencies, whose decisions have had, and will continue to have, a profound impact on our future.
Sylvain Terrault President, QPGA
A Word from the Executive Director
The need for setting up an innovation fund
With the scientific advances made in a number of agricultural practices and the overall increase in crop yields, farmers have been able to compensate for the rural exodus over the years to feed a growing urban population. Today, the agricultural sector once again finds itself up against some daunting challenges. Growth in global demand, limited access to natural resources, climate change, environmental protection, and economic and societal issues such as food safety and security and nutritional value, all exert enormous pressure on the agricultural and agri-food communities.
Once again, producers are being called on to adapt to these changes and cater to these needs. Success in this regard depends to a large extent on the sector’s capacity to adjust quickly to these ever-evolving pressures. In this context, the importance of innovation becomes even clearer in order to keep pace with the demand to constantly produce more with greater restrictions.
Research and innovation are therefore drivers of development in our industry. Today, producers can tap into the plentiful supply of arable land and water we have here in Quebec to grow more crops with fewer resources, using new technologies and new methods stemming from leading-edge research. Recent advances and innovative solutions have led to practices that are increasingly sustainable and productive. These improvements have also paved the way to new markets for products that meet the highest standards of quality, safety and nutritional value.
The time has come to take action and create an environment conducive to horticultural research and innovation. We need to have solutions in place to deal with ongoing production issues as they arise. The provincial government must rework the Agri-Québec program for the horticultural sector to create the regulatory framework necessary to establish a horticultural innovation fund. The adjustments announced in the program should be utilized to set up this structure, with funding from growers and the government. This is all the more important considering that, over the past decade, we have lost 1% of our market every year to Ontario. Moreover, our business environment in Quebec lags behind Ontario in terms of investment in research. Not only this, but the overall coordination of our innovation chain is far from optimal. As it currently stands, a large number of organizations operating at varying levels are competing for funding dollars.
With the creation of an innovation fund, we will be able to develop an industry strategy to boost investments in R&D, streamline efforts and resources, and promote effective collaboration among industry stakeholders. It will also allow us to invest in development tools, such as our crop protection strategy and our market intelligence activities.
We cannot establish an innovation fund unless the public and private sectors join forces. Quebec’s produce growers will be called on to contribute financially to the initiative. Next season, we will consult our members about a funding mechanism through the Agri-Québec program. Businesses will be asked to contribute based on their respective size. The contribution from businesses, currently set at 3.2% of allowable net sales (ANS), will be raised to 3.3%. The increase will then be used to build the innovation fund. The government contribution will stay capped at 3.2% of ANS. According to our calculations, this extra 0.1%, combined with a contribution of horticultural industry organizations, will generate a total $1 million. Add to this the estimated $9 million to come from new partners and government programs and the fund’s annual investment capacity could reach $10 million!
The challenge of sustainable agriculture is an ongoing one. We must constantly improve our farming practices to minimize impacts on surface water, groundwater, soil and greenhouse gas emissions.
Research and innovation are strategic tools for maintaining competitiveness and fostering the development of agri-food sectors. Some areas of the Quebec horticultural industry are losing their competitive edge to Ontario, and boosting our strategic investment in research and innovation is one of the keys to reversing this trend.
Jocelyn St-Denis Executive Director, QPGA
We are proud to introduce you to the QPGA team, dedicated to pulling out all the stops to bring every project to a successful conclusion.
- Steven Bastien Associate Director, Market Operations
- In this role, Steven looks after the association’s public and wholesale market division, including day-to-day operations, property management, leasing, service contracts and more.
- Louise Binette Accounting Manager
Louise handles all accounting-related operations, oversees visitor greeting duties, responds to member enquiries and contributes to the Advance Payments Program.
- Chantal Cadieux Deputy Executive Director, Marketing
Chantal coordinates the Eat Quebec campaign and the corresponding social media efforts. She is also responsible for a variety of administrative tasks aimed at several sectors and organizes networking events. The Advance Payments Program is under her purview.
- Elisabeth Fortier agr. M.Sc. Project and Registration Officer
An agrologist by profession, Elisabeth is in charge of all matters involving pesticide registration and regulation for the entire horticultural sector. She also manages R&D projects related to the agrology side of vegetable production.
- Catherine Lessard Director, Research and Development
Catherine plans, implements and monitors the QPGA’s R&D initiatives. She ensures that projects run smoothly and maintains close ties with industry partners and key political and agricultural stakeholders.
- Jocelyn St-Denis Executive Director
In collaboration with the team, he determines the direction and strategic direction of the organization and identifies ways to achieve the mission of the Association.
2018–2019 Board of Directors
Sylvain Terrault President
Éric Van Winden 1st Vice-President
Jocelyn Gibouleau 2nd Vice-President
Sébastien Mas 3nd Vice-President
Catherine Lefebvre Secretary
Patrice Riendeau Treasurer
François Van Winden