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New report makes recommendations for farming with less fossil fuels

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Actu - Réduire dépendance secteur agricole aux énergies fossiles

Can Quebec's agricultural sector reduce its reliance on fossil fuels? A new report from Equiterre and ÉcoRessources says yes.

Right now, Quebec's farmers are so dependent on fossil fuels that a price increase of just a penny per litre of fuel costs the industry an extra $3.8 million in fuel expenses and $4.9 million in fertilizer costs.

Farms were responsible for a whopping 2.7% of the the total fossil energy consumed in Quebec in 2010. And consumption is on the rise: the sector consumed about 140% more fossil energy in 2010 than in 1996.

Our agricultural sector depends heavily on the use of external inputs (fertilizer, pesticides, machinery) whose manufacture requires fossil fuels. As a result:

  • The greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change continue to grow.
  • Farms pay more for energy.
  • Farms remain heavily dependent on imports, negatively affecting Quebec's trade balance.

To reverse this trend, Quebec's agricultural sector should:

  • Go organic. This is one of the most effective ways to reduce consumption of fossil fuels, mainly by reducing or eliminating mineral fertilizers.
  • Get energy efficient (in the field, in buildings).

Also needed:

  • Support measures to encourage the transition to new methods of cultivation. The government needs to encourage the adoption of practices that reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.
  • A long-term energy strategy for agriculture developed in consultation with local stakeholders that would help identify new patterns of production less dependent on fossil fuels.
  • Measures to increase fuel prices, to encourage producers to adjust their operations to reduce their energy consumption.

* The report is in French only. 

  • pdf  - 20.51 mb Rapport Réduire la dépendance du secteur agricole québécois aux énergies fossiles

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