The production of organic hazelnuts involves a lot of manual labor for fieldwork and harvesting, leading to much higher production costs compared to conventional farming. Therefore, organic farmers are always seeking solutions to increase the profitability of their farms. Happy Hazelnut aims to support farmers in this area.
That is why Işik Tarim & Varistor AG started an innovative pilot project last year to test the use of harvest nets to collect hazelnuts. The objective of the harvest nets is to make organic hazelnut production more efficient and less costly while also improving the quality of hazelnuts.
In Turkey, a young and motivated team of agronomists is implementing this project together with the Happy Hazelnut farmers. We have talked with Mesut Karsli (24), the responsible agronomist at Işik Tarim, who is passionately working to make the use of this harvest method a reality.
It is a great pleasure for us to welcome mymuesli as a new Gold Member in the Happy Hazelnut Project. mymuesli launched online in April 2007, the first company in the world to offer a service where you could mix your own personal muesli with more than 80 different organic ingredients.
From now on, the hazelnuts in the muesli of the mymuesli customers will come from the first sustainability project for hazelnuts in Turkey.
bio-familia AG is one of the gold members of the Happy Hazelnut Project right from the first hour. This year, they could not miss a chance to visit the project in Turkey. On arrival at the Happy House, they were greeted by 12 radiantly happy children still left at the premise because the harvest is almost coming to an end and most have left.
Some were busy drawing and others playing on the large playground. On the walls of common room, some of their wonderful and colourful paintings and artworks from the last weeks are hung up. The joy and satisfaction of the children at the house under professional supervision until their parents return from work in the fields is evident. In just under two weeks, the last families will have returned to their homes and then the bustling at the house will quiet until the year to come. It was a happy visit.
A brief overview of our commitment. The new Happy Hazelnut Flyer provides an overview of Happy Hazelnut's goals, shows the supply chain, explains how companies can become members and how activities in the field are financed through foundation grants and price awards.
The hazelnut harvesting season is neigh and the migrant workers and their families are beginning to settle in at the Happy House, and at other accommodations offered by farmers involved in the project. This will be their home for the next two months. So, all is ready and well prepared to welcome them home.
At the Happy House, additional toilets and showers were installed outside this year and further renovations and maintenance carried. Mr. Baris Gücük, a caretaker for the Happy House has been permanently employed now by the Happy Hazelnut Foundation to ensure that the wellbeing of the workers during their stay is smooth, the premises well maintained and clean throughout the year.
Farmer accommodation for workers:
The farmers on the other hand have remained true to their word to provide proper and humane accommodation to the workers. Many houses for the workers have either been renovated or newly built. All these at cost of farmers and some support from the Happy Hazelnut Foundation.
Childrens summer program:
Like the previous year Esra Dobro, who is an employee of ISIK at the hazelnut factory will be responsible for the children summer school.
There is a detailed program of activities for the children till the age of 13 years old lined up daily from 8:40 - 18:00 Hrs. School will start in week 32. If there are children above 13 years old, their programme will be adjusted accordingly to avoid them getting bored.
More children will be picked up from the villages surrounding Pasalar, namely Kalkin, Tahirli and Götkepe. Mr. Salih, a member of the management board is assigned the duty of picking up the children at a fee, paid by the Happy Hazelnut Foundation. ISIK Tarim graciously takes care of the food for the children during the summer classes.
If you asked the children of the migrant workers what they liked most this year during their stay at the Happy House, they would enthusiastically tell you about their exciting time with Esra.
Esra Dobra is currently employed as a secretary at the new ISIK Tarim hazelnut cracking factory in Ormanli. She is however a trained teacher by profession with experience prior to joining ISIK. During this past harvest, she creatively and playfully worked with the children left behind while their parents went to harvest the hazelnuts. The pictures below speak for themselves. We also say, thank you Esra.
Already read the news? We are pleased about the report on the project in the Migros magazine. With an extra charge of 5 cents a bag, Migros consumers positively contribute against child labor and ensuring good working and living conditions for migrant workers during the hazelnut harvest. We highly appreciate the strong commitment of Delica AG and other Gold members towards the Happy Hazelnut Project.
Delica, a company belonging to Migros in Switzerland is one of the Gold members of the Happy Hazelnut Project.
The Gold membership is accorded partners of the HHP who extraordinarily engage in the project and actively participate in the development of a child-labour free, sustainable and transparent supply chain of hazelnuts.
Delica’s partnership with the Happy Hazelnut Project is depicted on a plaque, which now proudly adorns the Happy house at the heart of Paşalar.
The flagship project in Paşalar against child labor during the hazelnut harvesting is growing steadily and surely. One step at a time.
Farmers from the region are happy with the project because they can see the positive impact it has on the migrant workers and their families during their stay in Pasalar.
So the project is expanding with more farmers from the region joining the project. This means not only an increase in the quantities of sustainable hazelnuts but shared responsibility within and around the community.
Now that dust has settled after the busy hazelnut harvesting season in Turkey, we can take a breath and reflect.
“The season was really good for the children at the Happy Hazelnut house in Paşalar. Same as last year, we organized a teacher and a cook to make them breakfast and lunch. We also organized different games and activities for the children like painting, reading, sports like handball or football. The farmers, workers and children always came to meet there. There was a lot of happiness at the house,”
reports Mr. Reşat ÇAKMAK (Happy Hazelnut Project Manager in Turkey).
The Swiss food symposium ran this year under the motto deception respectively the flowing transition between deception and advertising. The well-known television presenter Daniela Lager hosted the event.
Philip Albrecht, CEO of Varistor AG, was given the opportunity to present the Happy Hazelnut Project as a guest speaker.
We are amidst revising the Happy Hazelnut Standards since its conception in 2014. The revision aims at identifying loopholes and verifying the effectiveness of the standard so as to adjust and improve the system to ensure that the objective of the project are achieved.
All stakeholders are involved in this process. The stakeholder engagement is not only welcomed in this process, but crucial to the success of this certification system. During the Biofach in Nuremberg, Varistor AG as the initiator of the project, met with the inspectors of the independent accredited certification body Kiwa BCS Öko-Garantie GmbH to exchange on their experiences during the inspections and certification. Their information will be integrated in the revision process.
Varistor AG is pleased to be one of the first certified importers of UTZ hazelnuts from Turkey.
The Happy Hazelnut producer groups as well as ISIK Organic Gida as processor could undisputedly achieved their UTZ certification in November 2015. The basis that formed the successful certification of the supply chain according to UTZ standards was the «Happy Hazelnut Project».
We can therefore offer you UTZ hazelnuts from the 2015 harvest in organic as well as conventional quality in various calibrations and processing forms.
For the processing of transparently traceable hazelnuts, a processing facility certified according to «Happy Hazelnut Project» standards is essential.
Therefore, a new cracking and processing factory with a capacity of 75 Tonnes of hazelnuts per day was built in the middle of the hazelnut growing area in Ormanli. The factory under the supervision of Mr Reşat Çakmak, our «Happy Hazelnut Project» manager in Turkey, currently employs 25 people from the region.
All nuts from the project undergo strict inspection before they are cracked and prepared for export in accordance with customer specifications.
The new factory is equipped with two separate production lines for conventional and organic products. Modern laser devices ensure compliance with the ever-growing high quality requirements in addition to manual sorting.
The factory works according to ISO-Standards. BRC certification is in preparation and will be implemented no later than 2016 before the new crop.
Just before the beginning of the harvest in August 2015, the new accommodation building was opened in a ceremony witnessed by migrant workers, farmers, local politicians, founders and supporting member companies. Forty migrant workers and their families found a home during the harvesting season here.
During this occasion, the building was handed over to the local farmer community of Paşalar. After the harvest, they are responsible for the management of the building under the supervision of the Happy Hazelnut Foundation. They can use the building for other purposes such as cultural and social event.
The project is so far confined to a clearly defined area of the municipality of «Paşalar». It is a declared goal of Varistor and ISIK Tarim to extend this pilot project to other communities.