Short race possible for B.C. Fruit Growers

Jeet Dukhia is considering whether he will actually run against incumbent Fred Steele for BCFGA

Meet Dukhia

Meet Dukhia

There may not be an election for president of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association.

Jeet Dukhia is considering whether he will actually run against incumbent Fred Steele for the BCFGA’s top job now that he is president of the B.C. Tree Fruits Co-operative.

“I am weighing my options,” said the Vernon orchardist.

Dukhia had accepted the nomination for BCFGA president before taking on the BCTF duties.

“We are very busy with the co-op and we’re excited with our new chief executive officer, Stan Swales. It will take a few years to focus on our plan and seeking government funds for packing lines.”

Dukhia says he’s hearing from some growers who want him to be focused only on the BCTF while others insist there isn’t a conflict to be president of the co-operative and the BCFGA.

“I will talk to the growers about what they want me to do,” he said.

If Dukhia does run for BCFGA president, it will be the fourth time he goes head-to-head with Steele.

“It’s a democratic process and anyone that wants to run can do that. The members will decide,” said Steele, a Kelowna orchardist who has been BCFGA president for the last three years.

Steele insists he has unfinished business.

“One is the national tree fruit rejuvenation program. I hope the program will pump millions in loan guarantees into the industry.”

Another issue Steele wants to focus on is improved crop insurance.

And with a provincial election taking place in May, Steele insists there’s a need to ensure all political parties understand the needs of the tree fruit sector.

“There are asks (of government) that will be forthcoming,” he said.

The BCFGA will elect a president at its annual conference in Penticton Feb. 2 to 3.