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A Fruitful Century

Looking Forward

A fruitful century

by Richard Bullock (President 1978, 1980-1984)

Trying to predict the form or role of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association in the 21st Century and beyond is sobering to think about. To actually put pen to paper to record those thoughts is lunacy.

What makes gazing into the future at this time even more difficult are the unknowns facing Canada going into each federal election. Regardless of who wins, our country is going to alter dramatically. I believe trading patterns will alter less than the changes in attitude of the electorate concerning government’s role in the future.

We are seeing almost daily some subtle and some dramatic shifts in organizations which have helped develop Canada. People are demanding more freedom. Compulsion is becoming more difficult to enforce, business wants less restraint and regulation. These developments impacted on the B.C.F.G.A. before the general population, in the early 1970s, due to the economic forces prevailing at the time. Those elements which have shaped our organization must move into the future and, in fact, be encouraged, if the B.C.F.G.A. is going to continue to play its customary role in the social and economic development of the Okanagan Valley.

The B.C.F.G.A. will continually have to remind itself that our valley and country are becoming far more diversified economically and our impact on policy, while remaining important, will diminish. Trade has become more global, agricultural trade never more so. This will continue as transportation improves and trading patterns continue to liberalize internationally. Food is produced in quantity and quality in parts of the world where a few short years ago the land was idle or unproductive.

Governments cannot ignore the changing world nor can organizations such as ours. The B.C.F.G.A. will continue to function effectively by anticipating what is needed by its members rather than by reacting to circumstances which have already happened. In the past, our organization has generally recognized and worked with the changing circumstances. I hope that in the future it will be able to make the necessary adjustments more quickly.

I am going to resist the temptation to make specific predictions as to what shape the industry will take in the future. That sort of thing is for those with more wisdom than I. But I will venture this-if the B.C.F.G.A. can continue to perform for its members in the next hundred years as it has in the last, it will have done itself proud.