Grow­ers fret the de­tails

Or­ga­ni­za­tion re­leases re­sponse

The Chatham Daily News - - NEWS - DAILY NEWS STAFF

The Pro­cess­ing Veg­etable Grow­ers’ Al­liance is ex­press­ing con­cerns with pro­posed changes to the Farm Prod­ucts Mar­ket­ing Act.

Reg­u­la­tion 440 gov­erns a num­ber of is­sues im­pact­ing the pro­cess­ing veg­etable sec­tor in On­tario, in­clud­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tion process be­tween grow­ers and pro­ces­sors.

“We have care­fully re­viewed the list of changes the com­mis­sion is propos­ing to Reg. 440, and will be pro­vid­ing a de­tailed re­sponse as part of the on­line con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod,” said Fran­cis Dobbe­laar, the al­liance chair, in a me­dia re­lease. “We are ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed and con­cerned with sev­eral of the changes and the im­pact they will have on grow­ers.”

The Farm Prod­ucts Mar­ket­ing Com­mis­sion an­nounced the pro­posed changes last month.

The Pro­cess­ing Veg­etable Grow­ers’ Al­liance’s con­cerns in­clude the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a new two-round ne­go­ti­a­tion process; re­moval of fi­nal of­fer ar­bi­tra­tion for con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions; and the cre­ation of a new in­dus­try ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee with grower rep­re­sen­ta­tives hand-picked by the com­mis­sion rather than elected.

The al­liance stated it be­lieves all 10 grower po­si­tions on a com­mit­tee must be cho­sen by grow­ers.

“We are en­cour­ag­ing ev­ery pro­cess­ing veg­etable grower to take part in the con­sul­ta­tion process on Reg. 440,” Dobbe­laar said. “We need to have our voices heard, and ad­vo­cate for the kind of in­dus­try that en­cour­ages in­no­va­tion, col­lab­o­ra­tion and progress.”

The Pro­cess­ing Veg­etable Grow­ers’ Al­liance rep­re­sents farm­ers who grow 14 dif­fer­ent types of pro­cess­ing veg­eta­bles in On­tario.

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