Boparai steps down as BCFGA president

Vernon's Jeet Dukhia now takes on senior duties for the organization

Kirpal Boparai has resigned as president of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association.

Kirpal Boparai has resigned as president of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association.

The embattled president of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association has stepped down.

Kirpal Boparai resigned Monday as president and Vernon’s Jeet Dukhia will serve in the senior position, until the Jan. 19 BCFGA annual convention.

“I came to make change. Sometimes my aggressive approach was not popular, but it needed to be done,” said Boparai, who lives in Kelowna.

“This has taken a toll on me, and more importantly my family.”

Boparai took on duties as president last January but he has found himself in the midst of controversy.

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

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

Boparai says his goal as president was to take 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,” he said.

“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.”

Dukhia is currently vice-president and under bylaws, he becomes president with Boparai’s resignation.

Both Dukhia and Kelowna’s Fred Steele have been nominated to run for president at the AGM.