News

Orchardists' president resigns

The controversial president of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association has stepped down after less than a year in the post.

Kelowna grower Kirpal Boparai has announced that he is also not running for re-election.

He was elected by the 600-member grower organization last January, and he would have been up for re-election Jan. 19 at the 124th annual general meeting of the BCFGA.

Vice-president Jeet Dukhia of Vernon will fill in until a successor is elected.

Boparai won the 2012 election after Joe Sardinha stepped down after seven years as president.

It is Dukhia’s first year on the executive.

Several months ago, Boparai was ousted from the main packinghouse by the board of the Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-operative for not honouring his contract.

Boparai campaigned on taking a more aggressive approach with government and other

industry players.

“I think that something had to be done differently from before, and my main

concern is that the apple producers get back on their feet after many years of

dismal returns for their efforts. I took the message to government and we

finalized the Replant Funding for 2013. I took the message to the co-operative

packing house and there has recently been a new direction established there. I

have faith that the industry can move forward and work together.”

“I came to make change. Sometimes my aggressive approach was not popular,

but it needed to be done. This has taken a toll on me, and more importantly my

family, as I became a target for one newspaper reporter. No other reporter took

such a tenacious approach, but the personal damage has been done,” said

Boparai.

The BCFGA bylaws call for the vice-president to succeed the president, when

the president vacates the position, explained general manager Glen Lucas.

Dukhia said: “I hope to stabilize the association after a period of

turbulence and uncertainty in the industry. I will work closely with the executive

of our association and the directors of the other organizations to restore good

communication.”

The BCFGA executive decided that the vice-president position will remain unfilled until the

election at the annual convention.

 

 

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