A greenhouse vegetable marketing commission is on the table as the BC Greenhouse Growers Association looks to the sector‚Äôs future.
Right now, the marketing of greenhouse vegetables is regulated through the BC Vegetable Marketing Commission, which also oversees a range of storage crops.
‚ÄúThe relationship has been fine, except our two industries are so diverse and so different there‚Äôs no commonality between the two at all,‚ÄĚ Armand Vander Meulen said in broaching the idea at the association‚Äôs annual general meeting in Surrey, June 8. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs our belief as a board that we should work towards our own unique commission that is strictly with greenhouse crops.‚ÄĚ
A key concern is that while entry to the greenhouse sector is regulated, its products compete on the open market against those from other provinces and countries.
‚ÄúWe are at the whim of the general market; we are not controlled or protected by anything,‚ÄĚ Vander Meulen says. ‚ÄúAs a regulated industry, that makes us unique, and that is why, as a board, we believe the biggest driving force should be to have our own group focused exclusively on issues as they relate to greenhouse.‚ÄĚ
But plenty of details have yet to be worked out. The cost of running a separate commission from BC Veg hasn‚Äôt been determined, but it was one of the big questions on growers minds.
Vander Meulen said the aim would be to make better use of growers‚Äô funds rather than increases costs, but the research has yet to be done.
A study by Ference & Co. in 2021 regarding the feasibility of establishing an apple marketing commission estimated startup costs at $1.1 million and an annual operating budget of $1.75 million supporting five staff, six commissioners and a chair appointed by the lieutenant governor.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre merely at the talking stage at this point in time, but we want to move it forward,‚ÄĚ Vander Meulen said.