A pioneering change-maker in the Okanagan orchard industry has died.
Vernon’s Jeet Dukhia passed Wednesday from complications of terminal lung cancer. He was 74.
Dukhia was a former BC Fruit Growers Association president, BC Tree Fruits vice-president and chief engineer at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.
Dukhia’s son, Jesse, said his father was diagnosed with cancer in June.
Dukhia began farming in the BX area in 1977.
The family grows cherries and gala, ambrosia, Fuji and honey crisp apples on their farm.
Dukhia was elected BCFGA president in 2013 and again in 2021. He was the first Vernon president of the organization.
He was also the first Indo-Canadian vice-president of the orchard industry umbrella organization.
His son said Jeet was known for advocating for funding for farmers to help them modernize their operations and was “loved by family, friends, and as a pioneer of the industry.”
While also farming, Dukhia also worked as chief engineer at Vernon’s hospital for more than 30 years.
A public funeral will be held, and date and time arrangements are still being made.
The BCFGA represents 350 commercial tree fruit growers in the province.
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