Chronicle: 1983

Grower demonstration at Penticton, September 5, 1983.

British Columbia growers have a unique way of marketing their apples which has been criticized, examined, praised and condemned, but still exists because it is a necessity to the well-being of the fruit industry of that province. The reference is of course to the British Columbia Tree Fruits Ltd. . . . the sales agency designated by the British Columbia Tree Fruit Marketing Board to sell their fruit. (Elizabeth M.Campbell in a report prepared for the Marketing and Economics Branch of Agriculture Canada in 1983.)

  • "Anonymous" individuals made formal complaints against the B.C.F.G.A., some of its administrators, and a number of packing houses. They alleged that the Combines Investigation Act had been contravened and that the B.C.F.G.A. was unduly limiting facilities for the storage of fruit. The B.C.F.G.A. Executive pledged "to vigorously fight the charges."
  • Cash shortfalls continued to be experienced by growers due to the time lag in F.I.I. payments. As a result, more growers were selling to local fruit stands, peddlers, and other buyers.
  • The B.C.F.G.A. Executive spent considerable time and energy negotiating federal stabilization payments.
  • The B.C.F.G.A. lobbied for interest rate relief for farmers facing bankruptcy.
  • Poor weather coupled with the largest hailstorm since 1948 showed the importance of ongoing and stable Crop Insurance programs.
  • Farmworkers were given Workers' Compensation Board coverage in case of injury. However, farmers were exempted from W.C.B. regulations and participated in a co-operative safety education program, instead.
  • After a provincial election in the summer, the provincial government introduced its "restraint program."
  • Agriculture Minister Harvey Schroeder assured fruit growers that they would not be refused financial help through F.I.I., even though the plan had dropped into the red.
  • In August, Richard Bullock, President of the B.C.F.G.A., Fred Marshall, Chairman of B.C. Tree Fruits/Sun-Rype Ltd., and Christine Dendy, Chairman of the B.C. Tree Fruit Marketing Board, attended an apple industry conference held in Ottawa. The meeting represented a new approach to industry problems through tackling them nationally, rather than regionally.
  • Fruitgrowers, joined by other farmers and ranchers from the South Okanagan, staged a tractor rally at the Penticton Peach Bowl on Labour Day. The protest was aimed at the federal government which was allowing cheap imports to undercut the price of B.C. produce.
  • Marketing difficulties were exacerbated by the disappearance of canneries at the local level.
  • Don Cheyne retired and Kathy Brown became the new Secretary-manager of the B.C.F.G.A. Elaine Spletzer was hired as stenographer.

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