Growers’ president tossed out of co-op

Kelowna grower Kirpal Boparai has been ousted from the co-operative packinghouse for shipping his fruit through another facility.

Local orchardist Kirpal Boparai picking Gala apples from his orchard in KLO

The president of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association has been ousted from the Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-operative, the largest packinghouse in the valley, for not honouring his commitment to the co-operative to ship his fruit there.

Kirpal Boparai says since he was elected president of the grower lobby organization early this year and since he’s been talking about the need for change in the co-operative, they have been “making it tough for me.”

“They don’t want me to ask questions or call for changes,” he added.

However, board president Rob Dawson says losing membership in the co-operative is a consequence of not honouring your contract to sell all your apples through that co-operative.

All members are responsible for sharing the cost of the co-operative’s overhead and if a member doesn’t fulfill his commitment, the costs for the remaining members increases, he explained.

When there’s a breach of contract a member can be thrown out of the co-op, he added.

Boparai says many growers don’t have confidence in the co-operative any more and changes to upper management need to be made. They need to be more aggressive, he said. They also need to cut back on staff, he added.

OTFC CEO Gary Schieck says he strongly disagrees with remarks made by Boparai that the co-operative’s workers are lazy and that they do not understand grower needs. “I certainly appreciate the dedication and expertise of the management team, their respective departments and all employees across the organization, especially in this complex industry.

“We recognize the results are not always satisfactory to all growers, but we strive to maximize their returns in areas that are within our control, and have strategies for continual improvement,” he said in a statement.

The co-op is owned by 580 growers and their families, packing, marketing and distributing a variety of fruit, including apples, pears, cherries, peaches, apricots, prune plums and blueberries.

Through its marketing arm, B.C. Tree Fruits, the co-op’s fruit is sold to major retail and wholesale outlets across Canada and beyond its borders, as it has for more than 75 years.


Just Posted

Truck fire forces evacuation of Lake Country gas station

No one was injured as firefighters quickly contained blaze at the Shell on Sunday afternoon

Gas leak contained near Lakeshore Road

Ruptured line was quickly contained Sunday morning by Kelowna Fire Department

High winds cause havoc for sailors

Kelowna Fire Department assists boats with broken masts on Okanagan Lake

Late night confrontation between two men in Peachland

RCMP was called to the scene of a physcial encounter on Saturday evening where one man was injured

Update: Police expand search in North Okanagan-Shuswap

Examination continues in Silver Creek, while another search happens between Salmon Arm and Enderby

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

Rockets raise money for autism

Western Hockey League club hosts third annual Family Day Sunday in Kelowna

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

A golden opportunity

Orthodontist offers sweet deal for the pocketbook

Who is Curtis Sagmoen?

The Observer reveals what we know about the man attached to the Silver Creek property where human remains were found

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

First-place Warriors edge Caps, visit ‘Backs today

West Kelowna scores twice in 25 seconds early in third to overtake Cowichan Valley in BCHL action

Grab a book; thank your librarian

All libraries are cornerstones of their communities and we celebrate them during library month

Five decades of volunteering

Even though she is approaching 70, Merle kindred continues to volunteer around the world

Most Read