The Quebec and federal governments announced Friday the implementation of a new partnership to provide funding for the agriculture and agri-food sector.

Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and his provincial counterpart, Laurent Lessard, launched the Quebec arm of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership in Montreal.

Ottawa will contribute 60 per cent of the $293 million over the next five years, while Quebec will fund 40 per cent.

MacAulay told a news conference the funding would help Quebec producers take advantages of export opportunities, especially in Europe and Asia.

But he stressed the province would be able to decide how best to use the funds.

"You will be able to target the investments to meet the need of your industry here in Quebec," he said.

The policy framework will be used to support agricultural initiatives such as agri-tourism circuits, innovations in environmental practices or advisory programs.

The president of Quebec's professional farmers' union said the investment was welcome but could have been bigger.

"Of course there could have been more and we would have taken more," Marcel Groleau said Friday.

"In many sectors, for example pest control, or finding alternative solutions to pesticides ... just in these areas, a lot of investment is needed."

Federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers reached an agreement on the key elements of the $3-billion framework in July 2017.

It replaces a similar policy called Growing Forward 2, although Lessard said there are some differences between the two.

He said the new program meets Quebec's demand for increased flexibility and allows the province to develop programs to suit its needs.

"We have programs that don't exist in Ontario, Manitoba or other provinces," he said.

"We want to be able, despite the multilateral agreement, to have bilateral agreements that correspond to our priorities for action."

Quebec and Ottawa also announced a separate $774,000 investment in the maple syrup industry, in order to create a program that can provide syrup makers with advance funds ahead of the short, intensive production season.

I hope that this investment will be carefully monitored to see that it goes to the producers, rather than to agri-food businesses which take advantage of the producers.