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Post Info TOPIC: Its gonna be hard, but were gonna haffta boycott Hazelnut from here on out...

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Its gonna be hard, but were gonna haffta boycott Hazelnut from here on out...


AKCAKALE, Turkey Like thousands of other Syrian refugees, Shakar Rudani worked last summer in the Turkish Black Sea region, home to the largest concentration of hazelnut farms in the world. He arrived in August, hoping that he and his six children, between 18 and 24 years old, would earn the equivalent of a few thousand dollars. He left at the end of September with little more than a firm resolution: never to return.

The work was arduous and risky. Because the terrain is full of steep slopes, their children spent most of their time tied by ropes to the rocks, a precaution against a potentially fatal fall. Worse yet, the pay was $ 10 per day, half the rate promised by the intermediary who had commissioned the job.

"We did enough to cover the cost of getting there and coming back," said Mr. Rudani, a 57-year-old man who lives in a Turkish village on the Syrian border. "More our living expenses. We come back with nothing. "

About 70 percent of all hazelnuts come from Turkey, a reward produced by some 600,000 scattered farms throughout the green landscape that stretches along the country's north coast.

Much of the harvest ends in sweet confections, such as the spread of Nutella made by Ferrero, the chocolate bars made by Nestl and the Godiva chocolates made by a Turkish company, Yildiz. Few consumers know that behind each of these sweets there is a crop that has long been known for its dangers and difficulties, as well as for the prevalence of child labor, a scourge that the government has been trying to fight for years.

Now, a growing number of seasonal hazelnut workers are Syrian refugees, a cohort with a unique set of vulnerabilities. Few have work permits, which means they lack legal protections.

The Turkish Labor Code does not apply to agricultural enterprises with fewer than 50 employees, so much of the surveillance of this crop falls on the confectionery companies. Ferrero says he oversees a multiple effort to ban child labor and set standards for wages and safety. The private company, headed by Giovanni Ferraro, whose personal fortune has been reported by Forbes with $ 22.3 billion, is an empire built on hazelnuts. The company buys a third of the hazelnuts from Turkey. He has fought, along with competitors, to ensure that there is no shadow over the crop.

But the comprehensive monitoring of hazelnut farms in Turkey is an exceptionally difficult objective to achieve because they are very numerous and independent. In addition, the minimum wage, offered by almost all farmers, will not keep a family above the country's poverty line. And that's before the payment is reduced by intermediaries, who connect workers to farms and often pocket more than 10 percent of wages.

For chocolate companies, all this presents an enigma. While other countries have tried to strengthen their hazelnut production, Turkey is still the mother lode, and it is impossible to meet international demand without buying a lot here. But buying hazelnuts in Turkey means supporting a crop with flagrant humanitarian failures.

"In six years of monitoring, we have never found a single hazelnut farm in Turkey that meets all the standards of the decent work principle," said Richa Mittal, director of innovation and research at the Fair Labor Association, which has field work in Turkey. Hazelnut cultivation "In all areas, not one."

Too much info/large articule. Goto url at top to read entire articule.


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