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Fruit growers to demand action from premier tonight

Premier Christy Clark swearing in B.C.'s new Minister of Agriculture, Pat Pimm.
Image Credit: SOURCE/ Province of B.C. Government Photos

VERNON - Fruit growers are putting the pressure on for a meeting with B.C.'s new agriculture minister. The president of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association, Jeet Dukhia, will be going straight to the premier herself tonight at an all-candidates forum in West Kelowna, asking her to make the meeting happen.

Dukhia says the association has made numerous requests for a meeting with Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm, who replaced Norm Letnick as Minister of Agriculture.

"We've been trying for over a month, ever since he became the agriculture minister," Dukhia says. "We invited him to the Okanagan, but he says he's too busy."

To have an appreciation for the challenges faced by Okanagan growers, Dukhia says it's important for Pimm to tour the region in person, otherwise "he won't understand our problems."

But if he won't come here, Dukhia says the association will go to him. If Pimm will see them, Dukhia and a group of growers will travel to Victoria to have their voices heard.

"We have to get him up to speed," Dukhia says.

The association has a list of issues to discuss, among them crop insurance. Dukhia says the program isn't working, a fact made clear in recent weeks when hail and rain damaged crops across the Okanagan.

Dukhia says he'll be seeking an audience with Premier Christy Clark tonight.

"We hope she will give us a few minutes to talk to her," Dukhia says. "We'll see if she can speed up this meeting with the agriculture minister."

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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