By Tom Collins
Vegetable growers are frustrated after the Farm Products Marketing Commission unveiled a proposal to replace the current marketing board, a move that came out of nowhere and lacks details, says the chair of the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers (OPVG).
The Farm Products Marketing Commission posted a proposal on June 28 looking for comments about removing the negotiating power of the OPVG, says the vegetable growers’ chair Francis Dobbelaar.
Comments are due Aug. 12.
Dobbelaar told Farmers Forum that growers are calling the OPVG searching for answers, but the board hasn’t been told why the commission is dismantling the board’s negotiating power, how the new advisory board is going to work, or what the impact will be on growers.
“The farmers are quite upset,” he said. “We know very little other than what’s there in black and white. It’s just not a good time for farmers. They’re working seven days a week. The timing is off, the process should be a lot longer and there should be more information.”
OPVG currently uses a complex model to determine vegetable prices in negotiations with processors.
Under the proposed rules, an advisory board would be set up to do the same work. But who decides who is on the advisory board and the model they use to set prices are unknown to producers.
The changes would affect producers of 10 vegetables that would be used for processing: Tomatoes, sweet corn, green peas, onions, pumpkins, squash, carrots, cucumbers, lima beans, and grain and wax beans.