Grower survey supports reestablishing OPVG structure

Processing Vegetable Growers’ Alliance
September 15, 2017
By Processing Vegetable Growers’ Alliance
September 15, 2017, Wallaceburg, Ont – Survey results from more than 100 processing vegetable growers confirm overwhelming support for the grassroots representation of a provincial board. The Processing Vegetable Growers’ Alliance (PVGA) conducted an online grower and industry survey in August 2017 to gauge interest and support of various activities and actions of a provincial board.

“The survey responses from growers support everything [PVGA] has been pushing for – a return to a fully grower elected board with the authority to negotiate prices, terms, conditions and contracts for Ontario’s processing vegetable growers,” says Francis Dobbelaar, chair of the PVGA. “Our findings support our serious concerns about why the government and [Ontario] Farm Products Marketing Commission have taken the steps that they have to disrupt our entire processing vegetable sector when it is not the wishes of most growers.”

Growers ranked the importance of issues on a scale of zero (not important) to 100 (very important) on the structure and role of the processing vegetable growers association. On the issue of having a say in the representatives that negotiate contracts on their behalf, the average grower answer was 92 on the scale of importance.

Additional results indicate support for a fully elected grower Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers (OPVG) board that negotiates contracts with processors – both issues receiving an average response of 90 on importance (out of a possible score of 100).

“The survey results are very clear – the vast majority of growers want a grassroots, grower elected board and want their contracts negotiated by those board members they elected,” says Dobbelaar, who also points out another survey ranking of 86 on the importance of the OPVG chair be elected by the board. “This is the first time anyone has asked Ontario growers how they want to be represented since the OPVG board was dismantled.”

A further 44 processing vegetable growers signed a petition in a show of support for the work of the PVGA “to maintain our representation of a fully elected OPVG board/chair, and further the industry through the continuance of an Advisory Committee with all willing stakeholders at the table.”

The PVGA formed in March 2017 when the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission removed the OPVG board and senior staff, taking away the growers’ ability to choose the representatives who negotiate contracts with processors on their behalf. The PVGA represents farmers who grow 14 different types of processing vegetables in Ontario. Visit PVGAlliance.org for more information about the Processing Vegetable Growers’ Alliance.

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