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Quebec market gardeners are switching to less risky large-scale crops

The threat that climate change poses to Quebec’s food security is no longer theoretical: the Association des producteurs maraîchers du Québec (APMQ) says its members, severely affected by extreme weather events, are producing less and less food for Quebecers.

“Producers are reorienting their activities to large-scale cultivation where the capacity to operate a farm and risk management are much less important than for a market garden farm,” says the association’s general manager Patrice Léger Bourgouin. Large-scale cultivation crops include grain corn, soybeans, cereals, forage crops and beans, among others.

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The torrential rains this summer had a catastrophic effect for a majority of produce farmers growing small fruits, vegetables for processing and root vegetables like potatoes.

A survey carried out among 250 producers shows significant production losses, with a majority of crops affected not only by rain, but also by frost or hail.

Three-quarters of respondents detected fungal diseases in their crops, a majority expect losses from storing waterlogged produce and half of respondents anticipate difficulties next summer due to rotten plants standing, broken, uprooted or affected by disease.

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