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Ron Lemaire delivers 2024 State of the Industry to Canadian Produce Marketing Association Fresh Week attendees

Ron Lemaire at CPMA

April 24, 2024- (Vancouver, British Columbia) – CPMA BB #:153602 President Ron Lemaire, delivered his State of the Industry Address at the CPMA 2024 Delegate Lunch in Vancouver highlighting the resilience of the fresh produce sector amid global challenges.

In his speech, the CPMA President described the past year as one marked by turbulences including floods, wildfires, labour shortages, geopolitical issues and more. He spoke at length about three factors that are influencing the ongoing challenges within the industry:


Sustainability has become a critical issue sparking conversations within and beyond the produce supply chain. Urging industry members to have a pragmatic approach to this important issue, Ron Lemaire highlighted CPMA’s work in collaboration with partners to address sustainability including:

  • A policy paper on sustainability released by the Global Coalition for Fresh Produce
  • The initiative to advance discussions around a standardized approach to sustainability at the Friday, April 26 International Sustainability Summit.

Political upheaval

As Canada and more than 80 countries across the globe gear up for elections in the coming months, the CPMA President provided an overview of the current Canadian political landscape. Citing policy shifts, alliance fractures, and regulation changes, he outlined how these changes impact the produce industry and called upon members to be proactive in advocating for the industry to address political barriers to its growth and longevity.

“We are not mere spectators. We are architects of our destiny,” said 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.”

The changing consumer behaviour

Describing the consumer as the most important influencer and focus of both the politicians and the produce industry, the CPMA President outlined different categories of consumers and their everevolving needs that all signal three clear key messages for the industry. Consumers want quality products, fair prices, and the best shelf life.

To sum up his address, Ron Lemaire highlighted innovation, collaboration, adaptation and purpose-driven leadership as key elements in addressing the industry’s challenges.

“The concept of navigating uncharted territories is not new to the produce industry but part of its DNA,” said 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.”

About CPMA

Based in Ottawa, Ontario, CPMA is a not-for-profit organization that represents a diverse membership
made up of every segment of the produce industry supply chain who are responsible for 90% of the
fresh fruit and vegetable sales in Canada. CPMA is fortunate to represent a sector that is both a
significant economic driver for communities and that also improves the health and productivity of