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Agriculture and Fisheries

Keep our primary industries strong, supporting farmers and fishers as they adapt to the developing opportunities in markets here and abroad … while safeguarding PEI’s heritage of lands and waters. As part of the NDP PEI approach we will have a Minister of Agriculture and a Minister of Fisheries.

The harvest season in 2018 was the greatest natural disaster in modern memory for our farmers and the Provincial economy. Thousands of acres of crops were left in the fields due to the deluge of rain that was followed by the early onset of winter. Crop Insurance is presently not effective in such a situation.

This natural disaster is of similar proportion to the forest fires around Fort McMurray, Alberta, or the floods that occurred in Saguenay, Quebec in the past. Federal assistance was provided to both Provinces by the Federal Government upon the request of the respective Provincial governments.

The present government has not made any public statements to indicate an intention to request disaster assistance for this farming crisis.

agriculture

NDP MLAs will work to:

  • Removing the loopholes in the Lands Protection Act.
  • Restrict acquisition of agricultural land by persons and corporations who are not actually resident here.
  • Continue to prohibit fracking, whether on land or under-sea.
  • Establish a benchmark set of standards to gauge the soil-fertility quality of Island land, and annually publish a scorecard on how well we are safe-guarding it.
  • Reform crop insurance program to mitigate against natural disasters such as what we saw in 2018.
  • Invest over 4 years to support the transition to sustainable agriculture.
  • Source local food for public institutions such as schools and hospitals.
  • Ban new high-capacity wells.
  • Strengthen regulation about buffer zones and crop rotation.
  • Support community watershed groups with adequate financial backing, and with them develop an Island-wide watershed management plan.
  • Push for full federal environmental assessment of Northern Pulp’s plan for effluent discharge, with particular concern for the effects on Northumberland Strait fishing.
  • Ensure that the Federal Government meets its obligations to dredge harbours before the season starts.

Partnering to Sustainable Agriculture

We stand for supporting farmers in a transition to sustainable agriculture. Creating a path for farmers to diversify crops and rely less on agricultural chemicals is the way for soil preservation and enrichment as well as protecting our water supply.

Two factors are now moving many farmers toward more ‘natural’ agriculture: besides the sense of environmental responsibility, they see growing opportunities in markets where people have become more and more committed to organic products, and states (in the EU, for example) have responded with regulation.

To work with farmers and protect our lands and waters, NDP-PEI calls for these actions:

  • Reform crop insurance program to mitigate against natural disasters such as what we saw in 2018.
  • $100 million investment over 4 years to support the transition to sustainable agriculture.
  • We will be a reluctant buyer of last resort for farmers who are on the brink of receivership. All acquisitions in this plan are assigned to the land bank.
  • Source local food for public institutions such as schools and hospitals.
  • Fund expansion of Farmers’ Markets.
  • Require registration and inventory of agricultural chemicals to is open to the public.
  • Set a 15-year schedule to phase out industrial herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.
  • Foster research into best practices, and consult with the farming community about how to reduce reliance on synthetic industrial fertilizers.
  • Create incentives — for example, a tax break and an insurance scheme —to help speed the transition process.
  • Establish a joint (Crown/farmer) marketing program for organic products – and for promoting locally harvested food.

Stewardship of the land

We stand for careful monitoring of land use and responsible public control of ownership.

It’s an old story on PEI: the problems of off-Island ownership, concentration of ownership in the hands of corporate agri-business, and the consequent environmental harm to lands and waters.  Irving’s Cavendish Farms has asked the Province to double the amount of land potato-growers are allowed to farm.

NDP are committed to:

  • Removing the loopholes in the Lands Protection Act.
  • Restrict acquisition of agricultural land by persons and corporations who are not actually resident here.
  • Continue to prohibit fracking, whether on land or under-sea.
  • Establish a benchmark set of standards to gauge the soil-fertility quality of Island land, and annually publish a scorecard on how well we are safe-guarding it.

“We are blessed with an Island whose land and waters yield abundant food of

natural quality … Let’s keep it that way.” Robert T.

Protecting Island water

We stand for decisive action to keep PEI’s water supply abundant and pure.

The Island has limited fresh-water lakes, rivers and streams and therefore rely on the ground-water system. 

Considering threats such as migration into populous urban concentrations, irrigation and climate change, we commit to

  • No new high-capacity wells.
  • Strengthen regulation about buffer zones and crop rotation.
  • Promote water-conservation awareness and incentives for both households and industrial-level operations.
  • Support community watershed groups with adequate financial backing, and with them develop an Island-wide watershed management plan.
  • Push for full federal environmental assessment of Northern Pulp’s plan for effluent discharge, with particular concern for the effects on Northumberland Strait fishing.

Farming and fishing are the mainstays of our economy  and way-of-life and the NDP PEI will keep the balance of developing these resources while also preserving them for future generations.

Ensuring and enhancing fish and shellfish stocks

PEI must have a sustainable balance of wild and cultivated fish and shellfish across the range and quality of products that are sourced in our province.

NDP PEI commit to:

  • Balance between leases and the wild fishery
  • Restocking and development for both

Harbour dredging

Fishers need the security of safe and accessible harbours to be able to work.

NDP PEI will ensure that the federal government meets its obligations to dredge harbours before the season starts.