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Turkey: Investigation links Ferrero to exploitation of hazelnut pickers, child labour, low pay & long hours; Includes comments from Ferrero

Author: Tim Whewell, BBC News, Published on: 24 September 2019

"Is Nutella made with nuts picked by children?", 19 September 2019

 Nearly three-quarters of the world's hazelnuts come from Turkey and the biggest buyer is Ferrero...the nuts are picked mainly by migrants, including children, who work long hours for very low pay...

...It's exhausting work, for about 10 hours a day, on slopes so steep that it's easy to lose your footing...Most of the pickers are seasonal migrants from the poverty-stricken south and east of Turkey, mainly Kurds. 

The official wage rate set by local authorities is 95 lira...a day. [Workers]...receive...a maximum of 65 lira a day each...

...Kazim Yaman, co-owner of the orchard, says he is against child labour...But...says most other farmers accept it - and that he has no option but to pay the children, because their parents insist that they work...

...Ferrero...aims to make its hazelnuts 100% traceable by 2020. Currently...according to its latest report...it has achieved only 39% traceability...

...Enginay Akcay...is [an]... independent nut traders,..Farmers deliver their produce in sacks and he pays them according to quality...before selling on to cracking factories, or direct to exporters including Ferrero....he says that Ferrero doesn't ask him which particular farmers the nuts come from, or about working conditions on those farms...

...Next up the chain are brokers such as Osman Cakmak. He buys from traders and sells to...exporters and manufacturers. He also says Ferrero does not ask him which individual farmers grew the nuts he is selling...

...[the] general manager of Ferrero Hazelnut Company in Turkey, says: "If we determine a product which is produced with unethical practices, we would not touch it. We are doing our role to improve social practices with trainings…"...

...Asked about the trader and broker who told the BBC that Ferrero does not ask them about the...source of nuts, Akin says: "We are not asking questions, but we have the tools to monitor from a different perspective… Before the season started, we have talked to them [the traders], and we have demonstrated our social practice requirements."

He says Ferrero has the names of the middlemen it buys from..."apart from the trade secret side". But he..."...cannot guarantee the full names of the farmers."

As to whether the claims of traceability on the company's website are honest, he says: "Ferrero is always honest on the consumer side."...

Read the full post here

Related companies: Ferrero