MITCHELL, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 24, 2017) - Ontario growers and processors of fruits and vegetables have successfully concluded an agreement for the 2017 vegetable season, the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Processing Association (OFVPA) announced.
"For the first time we could sit down directly with our partner growers and resolve many issues," said Steve Lamoure, President of OFVPA. "This happened because the Wynne government stepped in to get both parties to the table. We were within hours of losing significant parts of the growing season," said Lamoure.
"The results of working with our grower partners, the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission and the Ontario government yielded positive results," Lamoure said. "The professional handling of the negotiations of all crops made for a more constructive dialogue on the issues that affect us all. We will continue to work with all parties for the advancement and growth of all processing vegetables."
"The changes to the negotiation process was never about price. This was about a working relationship that can protect and grow the industry. Our workers, growers, companies and communities all benefit," Lamoure pointed out. As part of the deal growers successfully negotiated to get back over 100,000 tons of tomato production previously cut. "This is a major win for the growers, worth approximately $10 - $11 million," Lamoure added.
"It is important that the Minister set in place permanent regulations to the interim changes he made to save the 2017 season," said Lamoure. "We can't be back to the same impasse come September. We have proven that reform leads to investments and jobs. Working directly with our partner growers really worked well."
"Cooperation, trust and willingness to work together does make a difference," said Don Epp, Executive Director of the OFVPA. He went on to say, "Hopefully we have marked a turning point that will allow us to focus on growing our industry and open new opportunities for growers and processors. This will benefit everyone and strengthen the local economies of Southwestern Ontario. If not for the intervention and the leadership of the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission the results could have been much dire," concluded Epp.
The agreements cover fruits and vegetables processed in Ontario.