Agricultural association Coldiretti has announced that it is opening a migrant hosting center near the southern Italian city of Potenza. The center will host over 200 seasonal workers inside a facility that is "dignified and respectful of healthcare norms," the farmers' association said.
The center opened on Wednesday. It is located inside a former tobacco factory of Palazzo San Gervasio, in the area of Potenza. It was created to host seasonal workers who harvest tomato crops in the region. The Red Cross will manage the facility.
The regional president of Coldiretti, Antonio Pessolani, had said on Tuesday, ahead of the opening, that, "despite an understandable delay, we were able to organize a dignified hosting center that respects healthcare rules that are necessary for agricultural companies during this phase of the tomato harvest."
''The region is working across the territory of Basilicata in a structured manner by best using funding allocated by the European Community to manage the hosting of migrant workers and give them permanent accommodation'', said Piergiorgio Quarto, the councilor of Basilicata, who represented the regional government on the opening day of the center on Wednesday.
Anti-coronvirus measures at the center
According to Quarto, migrants "will be adequately housed in a complex with appropriate health facilities and the constant oversight of security forces". He said that "utmost attention is being devoted to health procedures activated due to COVID-19."
Quarto said that the Basilicata region ''will work to solve in a definitive way next year the housing situation of seasonal workers employed in the area of Alto Bradano and Metapontino to harvest fruit and vegetable products."
Foreign seasonal workers have become fundamental for the harvest season in the region, the councilor said, stressing that some 370,000 seasonal workers arrive every year in Italy, according to a Coldiretti survey.