An open letter to Ontario’s processing vegetable growers
June 23, 2017 By Processing Vegetable Growers’ Alliance
June 23, 2017, Ontario – For nearly four months, farmers in Ontario who grow processing vegetables have been silenced after the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission shut down our organization – Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers (OPVG).
As a result, the Processing Vegetable Growers’ Alliance was formed to represent the interests of growers of the 14 different processing vegetables grown in Ontario, in the absence of OPVG.
Our goal, as an alliance of growers, is to restore a fully elected OPVG board with the authority to negotiate prices, terms, conditions and contracts for Ontario’s processing vegetable growers.
But on June 15, 2017, the commission posted proposed amendments to Regulation 441 (Vegetables for Processing – Plan) that impact governance of OPVG.
We have very serious concerns about the proposed amendments that would effectively allow the government to take control of the OPVG board for another year. OPVG currently has no expert advisory staff or board, and is operated by a commission-appointed trustee.
Our sector is best served by the grassroots growers who produce the 14 different processing vegetables grown in Ontario. And a fully elected grower board is in the best position to accurately and adequately represent our sector.
The proposed amendments to OPVG board governance will put the voice of the processing growers at a minority, with government appointees making up the majority of the OPVG board until the end of 2018.
It is unacceptable that the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission intends to appoint more than 50 per cent of the OPVG board positions (board chair plus four board members) with no requirement that these board members are active processing vegetable growers in Ontario.
We are encouraging all processing vegetable growers in the province to take the opportunity to comment on the proposed amendments by the July 31, 2017 deadline date.
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