Operation Orange sees ethical oranges and mandarins arrive in Moray from Italy during Fairtrade Fortnight
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OPERATION Orange has taken place in Moray.
During Fairtrade Fortnight, churches in Moray have received direct delivery of ethical oranges and mandarins from Italy.
These arrived through church partnerships that support migrants in Calabria, and have been shared with local groups and Moray Food Plus.
Moray’s Church of Scotland congregations are connected to the ETIKA branded citrus fruits through their mission partner Fiona Kendall.
Fiona works for Mediterranean Hope, which is the refugee and migrant programme of The Federation of Italian Protestant Churches, which has a base in Calabria, a fertile region facing the twin challenges of poverty and organised crime.
Projects there support migrants who struggle in the region’s fruit fields, the objective being to break the cycle of exploitation.
The opportunity was originally offered to buy oranges and clementines in December, in time for Christmas celebrations and Christingle services, however, post-Brexit paperwork made it impossible to get the fruit exports in time.
A second attempt failed in January, but third time lucky saw the oranges and mandarins arrive, helping ensure decent wages and conditions for the workers who picked them.
Rev Jenny Adams, whose congregation of Duffus, Spynie and Hopeman ordered a number of boxes to share, said: “It has been a lesson in perseverance and patience, but we are delighted the oranges have now arrived.
"The migrants we are seeking to support know all about barriers and perseverance as they face so much challenging paperwork against a background of language barriers, stigma and discrimination.”
One of those workers, Ibrahim Diabate, originally from the Ivory Coast, now works with a cooperative called SOS Rosarno, which was founded to campaign for an end to exploitation and instil good practice in the agricultural sector.
He arrived in Italy in 2008. After the first company he worked for went bust, he lived in a ghetto for three months without running water or electricity and for four months was forced to live in a railway carriage.
He has written about many of his and other migrants' experiences through poetry.
The consignment or oranges and mandarins saw 25 boxes delivered to Cullen Community Centre for wider distribution locally.
Some are going to be shared at the Burghead BALL group and through Step by Step in Moray. A number of boxes were paid for by local church members to be donated to Moray Food Plus.
Mairi McCallum, project manager at Moray Food Plus, said: “We would like to thank the parishioners of Duffus, Spynie and Hopeman Church for funding and arranging this wonderful delivery of oranges.
"We include fresh produce in all our food parcels and it is heartening to hear the story behind this particular delivery and the positive impact their purchase is having not just locally through our own work but to the migrants and refugees being supported in Italy.”