Focus on: hazelnuts.

Where are the challenges?

Hazelnuts are popular all over the world. Most of them come from one single country: Turkey. However, production there can be associated with considerable social risks. Thousands of harvest workers, mostly migrant workers and their families, are exposed to a range of precarious working conditions. These include factors such as child labour, low wages and excessively long working hours. Moreover, supply chain transparency and traceability are another problem for Turkish hazelnuts, as they generally pass through various intermediate trading and processing stages.

What is HALBA doing to improve the situation?

Hazelnuts are the third most critical raw material for HALBA in terms of quantity. Most of the nuts required come from Turkey, from where HALBA buys exclusively Rainforest Alliance certified hazelnuts. This standard prohibits child labor. However, no certification system is able to completely guarantee that a product is free from child labour. As a result, HALBA also focuses on enhancing transparency and traceability in order to address risks associated with Turkish hazelnut cultivation.

An additional strategy to minimise risks in hazelnut farming is to build up alternative supply chains, i.e. to look for other countries of cultivation with substantially lower social risks. This is why HALBA sources some hazelnuts from Italy and North Macedonia. However, these supply chains first need to be established.  The partnership with Nelkoski Organic Food is one example of this. HALBA works with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ, German Corporation for International Cooperation) to support the hazelnut producer Nelkoski Organic Food with integrating additional small-scale producers into the project and thereby attain solid growth and profitability. In addition, the processing infrastructure is being expanded with an eye to boosting the quality and quantity of organic hazelnuts from North Macedonia as an alternative to supplies from Turkey. A first pilot project for dynamic agroforestry with hazelnuts to started in 2024.

Sustainability project North Macedonia.