Dukhia seeks BCFGA post

A change in leadership is looming for the B.C. Fruit Growers Association.

A change in leadership is looming for the B.C. Fruit Growers Association.

Embattled president Kirpal Boparai has refused nominations for re-election, with Vernon grower Jeet Dukhia and Kelowna’s Fred Steele vying for the post at the association’s annual general meeting  Jan. 19.

“I want to support the growers and the industry,” said Dukhia, who, along with Steele, was nominated at a regional meeting in Vernon Thursday.

“I want to bring the cause of the growers to the provincial and federal governments.”

Both Dukhia, who is currently BCFGA vice-president, and Steele also received nominations for the senior position during a meeting in Kelowna Wednesday.

Steele, a former vice-president, has been nominated at the South Okanagan and Penticton regional meetings.

For the 2013 term of vice-president, Dukhia was nominated in Oliver, while all other meetings have seen Joe Sardinha, a Summerland grower and former president, also nominated. On Thursday, Dukhia put forward the name of Nirmal Dhaliwal of Oliver.

Dukhia is pleased to see numerous candidates for president and vice-president because that provides growers with options.

“It shows there’s a lot of interest in the industry,” he said.

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.