Working towards sustainable hazelnut production in Turkey with UTZ
UTZ work to create a world in which sustainable farming is the norm. In an effort to make the hazelnut sector sustainable, UTZ and Akvo teamed up to digitise the survey for hazelnut certification and set up a data collection process to monitor compliance. Once the hazelnut orchards are UTZ certified, they can supply their product to a wide range of producers that want to increase their sustainability and source responsible hazelnuts. As a result, agricultural practices are improved and social and environmental impact is alleviated.
Above: Furkan Can ÖNCÜ from UTZ during the Akvo Flow training in Trabzon, Turkey, 2016.
According to UTZ, small orchards along the Black Sea coast in Turkey produce over 60% of the world’s hazelnuts. Unfortunately, the hazelnut sector struggles with poor working conditions for labourers; often children, migrants or ethnic minorities. The lack of sustainable farming practices also leads to low productivity in these orchards, which are often very old.
To begin working toward a sustainable hazelnut sector in Turkey, a code of conduct survey was required to certify compliance. Initially, this data collection process was conducted using pen and paper, resulting in inaccurate data sets and inefficient data collection practices.
A hazelnut tree in Trabzon, Turkey, 2016.
As part of the UTZ First Mile programme, Akvo and UTZ teamed up to pilot the digitisation of the UTZ code of conduct survey for hazelnut certification in Akvo Flow.
Once the survey had been digitised, Akvo’s data collection experts went to Turkey to train Arslantürk, the producer organisation that purchases the hazelnuts from various farmers and processes them in their factory, in using Akvo Flow. Arslanturk staff then went out into the field to collect data on farmers in hazelnut orchards along the black sea coast. UTZ also use Akvo Lumen to visualise the data collected on farmers.
Elif Başar from Arslantürk during the Akvo Flow training in Trabzon, Turkey, 2016.
Using this data, UTZ and Arslantürk can better understand how many farmers are complying with the standards and whether there are any patterns in the data which can be acted upon to increase compliance.
Akvo has brought its expertise in data, technology, and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) to the partnership, while UTZ has the experience and the network to connect the field and the market. As a result, farmers in the programme adopt the UTZ standard, improving agricultural practices, farm management, and social and environmental criteria. These standards are monitored yearly to ensure compliance, and the visualisations of the data using Akvo Lumen are used to make evidence-based decisions regarding the programme, whether it’s in educating farmers on best practices or deciding where further attention is needed.