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Industry NewsCPMA president Ron Lemaire highlights industry resilience and sustainability initiatives in industry...

CPMA president Ron Lemaire highlights industry resilience and sustainability initiatives in industry address

Canadian Produce Marketing Association president Ron Lemaire delivered a State of the Industry address at the CPMA 2024 Delegate Lunch in Vancouver, highlighting global challenges.

Addressing the sector’s resilience in dealing with floods, wildfires, labour shortages, geopolitical issues and more, he discussed three factors impacting productivity. They include sustainability, political upheaval and changing consumer behaviour patterns. 

“The concept of navigating uncharted territories is not new to the produce industry but part of its DNA,” says Lemaire. “There is no sector like ours that needs to adapt in some form daily. When confronted with challenges, we recalibrate routes, forge new partnerships, and ensure that the lifeblood of our industry flows undeterred. This skill allows our industry to feed this nation and drives success in putting food on the tables in Canadian households.”

Lemaire said sustainability has become a critical issue sparking conversations within the industry. He urged industry members to take a pragmatic approach and highlighted a recent Global Coalition for Fresh Produce policy paper. Ideas within the study will inspire further discussions at the International Sustainability Summit on Friday, April 26.

As Canada and other countries gear up for elections in the coming months, Lemaire provided an overview of the Canadian political landscape. He outlined how changing governments can impact policy decisions and called upon members to proactively advocate for the industry in the political arena. 

“We are not mere spectators. We are architects of our destiny,” says Lemaire. “I have seen an industry stand tall, in the European Union, here in Canada and North America. We engage, we advocate, and we safeguard our interests, knowing that stability lies in our collective resolve.”

Discussing changing consumer behaviour, the CPMA president implored industry members to provide quality products, fair prices and the best shelf life. He also encouraged continued innovation, collaboration and adaptation.

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