Kirpal Boparai, President of the BC Fruit Growers’ Association, announced last week that he is not running for re-election. The President, as well as the rest of the eight member BCFGA Executive, is elected at the Annual Convention of the association held every January. He will step down today and Jeet Dukhia, Vice President, will preside until a successor is elected at the January 19th BCFGA Annual Convention.
Boparai won the 2012 election in a competition that was triggered when the incumbent President stepped down as leader of the BCFGA. Boparai campaigned on taking 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. I took the message to government and we finalized the Replant Funding for 2013. I took the message to the cooperative packing house and there has recently been a new direction established there. I have faith that the industry can move forward and work together.”
“I came to make change. Sometimes my aggressive approach was not popular, but it needed to be done. This has taken a toll on me, and more importantly my family, as I became a target for one newspaper reporter. No other reporter took such a tenacious approach, but the personal damage has been done,” said Boparai in response to a string of recent articles by reporter J.P. Squire of the Kelowna Daily Courier.
The BCFGA By-laws call for the Vice-President to succeed the President, when the President vacates the position. Dukhia succeeds Boparai as President, effective immediately. “I hope to stabilize the Association after a period of turbulence and uncertainty in the industry. I will work closely with the Executive of our Association and the directors of the other organizations to restore good communication,” Dukhia stated.