To the editor:
Forty-two million dollars—that’s what Okanagan fruit growers are rumoured to be in debt since the fruit growers’ board of directors decided to amalgamate back to 2008.
That should explain all the sweeping changes that have taken place over the last few years from plant closure to personnel changes and potential contracting out of services.
You ask any fruit grower if they were better off before amalgamation and 99 per cent of those would say yes and the same 99 per cent would go back to the way things used to be where they had a choice of packinghouses to ship their fruit to.
A co-operative should not operate with a deficit, so how the Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-op managed to get into this mess is beyond reason. A complete and comprehensive audit has to be done sooner rather than later if this industry is to survive.
The fruit growers in this region have, for too long, been at the mercy of a strong and dictatorship-like marketing agency in the name of B.C. Tree Fruits, an organization that has been around for over 75 years.
It’s almost criminal that fruit growers are the last to get paid (if there is anything left over) and it is even more criminal that growers cannot get information from the board of directors regarding the salaries of upper management of B.C. Tree Fruits, that is deemed confidential.
Something smells like rotten apples here and, like I said earlier, an audit or internal review has to take place from top to bottom . One thing is for sure—time is not on the growers’ side.