Resignation forces grower into spotlight

A Vernon orchardist has unexpectedly found himself leading the B.C. Fruit Growers Association.

Jeet Dukhia took on duties as president after Kelowna grower Kirpal Boparai resigned Monday.

““I hope to stabilize the association after a period of turbulence and uncertainty in the industry,” said Dukhia, who was vice-president.

Boparai took on duties as president last January but he became a lightning rod for controversy.

He was kicked out of the Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-operative because he did not conform to contract terms.

In October, members attending the co-op’s annual general meeting approved a resolution calling for Boparai to be removed from his BCFGA post.

Dukhia, though, stands by Boparai.

“He was doing a good job as president. He wanted to work for the growers and he knows the struggles growers are going through,” said Dukhia.

In a release, Boparai stated that he pursued a more aggressive approach with government and other industry players while president.

“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,” he said.

Dukhia has already established some goals now that he is president.

“I want to approach government for programs like replant,” he said.

“If there are any problems between the BCFGA and the co-op, I want to heal that. I have no doubts with the co-op at all.”

Both Dukhia and Kelowna’s Fred Steele have been nominated to run for president at the Jan. 19 annual general meeting.

“I have sat back quietly for the past year watching the BCFGA embroiled in controversy and unfortunately much of it has in my opinion damaged our reputation,” said Steele, who was vice-president and lost to Boparai in his bid for president.

“What the organization needs is a steady experienced hand to improve relations with those we are in constant contact with. In my view, the president must be a catalyst for generating a renewed interest in the organization by building a new relationship with the members and especially with the executive.”


We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Upgrades completed at Lake Country facility
Family of B.C. man shot by police slams RCMP
Date set for murder trial of Terrace girl in Kamloops
Fernie Beybladers let it rip!
Transportation Minister revs up B.C. speed limit reform debate
Bootleg Sled Dogs race into third year for Kootenay kids
Missing Andrew Evans
Ten Decades Young
Nelson police issue commendations for integrity, hard work

Community Events, October 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 19 edition online now. Browse the archives.