By William Latta
The BC Fruit Growers’ Association held their 124th annual meeting Saturday at the Penticton Lakeside Resort and Convention Centre.
If all goes well, this meeting will mark the end of a stressful era for the association resulting from mixed feelings regarding the actions and resignation of the most recent President Kirpal Boparai.
Photo: Contributed - William Latta
Norm Letnick, the minister of agriculture for BC spoke at the convention, focusing on positive changes that have been brought into play lately and attempting to circumnavigate the negative concerns held by many of those in attendance.
“It is my pleasure to announce to BCFGA members that criteria will be developed to allow growers to replant with different types of fruit trees," said Letnick.
"This decision was made after discussions with growers and industry leaders since my appointment as Agriculture Minister”.
Attendance at the convention exceeded the hosts’ expectations, with more people present than the number of lunch tickets sold. The crowd present for the Minister’s address was pressed against the back wall, forcing the rear doors of the halls to remain open. The BCFGA was very accommodating, however, even ordering pizzas so the unanticipated attendees could eat.
One of the big items on the agenda is the election of a new president for the BCFGA. The two candidates: Jeet Dukhia of Vernon who has been serving as president since Kirpal Boparai’s unforeseen early resignation, and Fred Steele of Kelowna.
Both Candidates have their share of support; Steele boasting a campaign focused on bringing new change and doing away with old habits. While Dukhia affirms that instead of instituting an entirely new platform, simple courtesies and compromises need to be met and respected within the agricultural family, which will allow for business to continue and improve.
The votes will be tallied at the close of the convention at 5 p.m. today.