(Jan. 23) Bentonville, Ark.-based global retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has a strategy designed to assist California’s struggling citrus industry following the recent freeze and resulting crop losses.

Wal-Mart announced Jan. 22 that it has several commitments to help the state’s citrus crisis, and that the work will be carried out through an effort called “Operation Orange Aid.”

The company said it would talk with suppliers to revise previously agreed upon contracts so that the agreements are more in line with present conditions. Wal-Mart said it also would buy more available product and stock California citrus in stores when possible.

The retailer’s approach includes a $250,000 corporate donation to the American Red Cross for national relief efforts connected to the wide spread winter storm.

“Wal-Mart buys more United States 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’s vice president 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."

Operation Orange Aid will include efforts for all California citrus, including oranges, grapefruit, lemons and other applicable fruit. The firm said the plan would continue through the 2007 season and would involve various sizes, grades and assortments.