Industry shrinkage tones down debate

As the tree fruit industry in the Okanagan dwindles in size, so do the numbers of members who attend the annual convention.

Two nominees ran for vice-president of the BCFGA

As the tree fruit industry in the Okanagan dwindles in size, so do the numbers of members who attend the annual convention.

And the tempers of those who attend seem to have mellowed over the years. There’s less fist shaking and shouting than in years past.

It’s been 122 years since the first B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association meeting was held, and this year was marked by only one moment of real controversy, during a discussion of whether growers should support genetically-modified apple varieties.

Few disagreed with a resolution not to support them unless it can be proven that it wouldn’t harm the market for regular apples.

With more Indo-Canadian members than ever before, the BCFGA still has a largely European executive, but there was a contest between Fred Steele and Amarjit Lalli of Kelowna for the position of vice-president this year.

Steele was elected by secret ballot, but Lalli was nominated to represent the Central District on the executive and was elected to that position.

He and Madeleine Roechoudt of Lake Country were the only two new members elected to the executive, replacing Roger Bailey of Lake Country, and Kirpal Boparai of Kelowna.

Re-elected were president Joe Sardinha of Summerland, Peter Simonsen of Naramata, Nirmal Dhaliwal of Oliver, Denise MacDonald of Summerland and Sukhdev Goraya of Kelowna.

Growers have to contend with fewer effective safety net programs and a smaller provincial budget for agriculture than in the past, and they’re not happy about that.

So there were calls for increases in B.C.’s agriculture budget, which they note is the smallest in the country, and for improvements to safety net programs such as crop insurance and a support program to enable replanting and updating of orchards.

Naturally, those were discussed once Agriculture Minister Ben Stewart had entered the room prior to his presentation to the 23 delegates and executive members who represented some 800 growers.

Delegates also expressed concern about new insect pests and resolved to lobby for a compensation program for losses arising from foreign invasive pest introductions, such as the Spotted Wing Drosophila that invaded the province last year, causing devastation in some cherry orchards.

Government resources for programs to monitor and control the pest are also needed they said.

A National Plant Health Strategy is also needed to encourage swift and early reporting of new pests, so there should be a financial compensation policy for emergency plant removal orders and quarantines, to encourage self-reporting.

Adequate and secure supplies of affordable water are essential to agriculture, so growers asked that water currently used by agriculture remain with the industry.

Just Posted

Column: Make it a green Christmas

Instead of purchasing a cuddly stuffie this year, put your money towards helping the real thing.

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Kelowna city councillor suggests bringing back photo radar

Gail Given says it could help generate traffic fine revenue for the city—and make roads safer

‘Game changer” research deal between three B.C. Interior universities

UBCO, TRU, UNBC say deal will help innovation, research, aid students and increase quality of life

What’s happening

Find out about the events happening in your community this weekend

Interior Health holding immunization clinic in Vernon Saturday

IH issues list of Okanagan meningococcal immunization clinics

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Annual Christmas meal held as Kelowna Gospel Mission

The meal will be held tomorrow from 12 to 6 p.m.

Michaels: Big Brother has become a big letdown

“You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide, but privacy should still have some appeal.”

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

Accused Shuswap drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Most Read