Wal-Mart's 'Operation Orange Aid' Provides Assistance to California Citrus Growers

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores yesterday unveiled several commitments to help the California citrus crop crisis and deal with other weather-related issues throughout the country.

Calling the initiative "Operation Orange Aid," Wal-Mart pledged to work with suppliers throughout the upcoming fiscal year to revise previously agreed-upon contracts to put them more in line with present conditions, purchase more available product, and stock California-grown citrus when possible. The company also announced a $250,000 corporate donation to the American Red Cross, designated for national relief efforts surrounding the widespread winter storm.

"Wal-Mart buys more U.S. agricultural products than any other retailer in the world, and it is imperative that we support our local growers during both the good times and the hard times," said Ron McCormick, Wal-Mart Stores v.p. of produce, in a statement. "Operation Orange Aid is designed to support quality, locally grown offerings while also reaching out to California growers during a challenging time."

As part of Operation Orange Aid, Wal-Mart pledged the following through the 2007 citrus season for California-grown oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and other citrus:

-- To stock Wal-Mart Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets with California-grown citrus when possible, focusing on quality and flavor;

-- To work with California citrus suppliers to help understand their losses and offer concrete help -- determining what fruit is still available and revising contracts in line with their present circumstances;

-- Without compromising quality or taste, Wal-Mart will purchase more available product in various sizes, grades, and assortments, to allow customers to support their local growers;

-- To clearly identify California citrus in Wal-Mart Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets, to help customers make their selections.
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