In April 16-28, 2018, in Nepi (Italy, province of Viterbo),representatives of agricultural cooperatives of hazelnut producer farmers from Zugdidi, Tsalenjikha and Vani municipalities ("Lazi", "Narazeni", "Edelweiss" and "Amkhanagoba")participated in the International Workshop and Conference of hazelnut producer organizations from Italy, Turkey and Georgia.
The event was devoted to hazelnut value chain development issues. It was supported by FAO, Città dell'Altra economia/Schola Campesina, ARSIAL/(Regional (Lazio) Agency for rural development) and Swiss organisation HEKS-EPER, and organized by Biodistretto della Via Amerina e delle Forre (Italy), Cifti Sen/Findik-Sen (Turkey) and Biological Farming Association “ELKANA” (Georgia). Georgian Delegation participated in the event in the frame of the project “Organic hazelnut value chain creates income and decent employment in Western Georgia”.
The goal of the event was the exchange of experience between hazelnut producer organisations and relevant institutional and economic actors of the hazelnut sector, analysis of existing problems and formulate the ways for their joint solutions. The participants discussed the following actual topics:
Analysis of the evolution of the hazelnut farming systems and supply chain in Italy, Georgia and Turkey;
Assessment of the role of organizations involved in hazelnut supply chain from the perspective of FAO/CFS “Principles for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems” (RAI) and OECD “Guidance for responsible agricultural supply”;
Contract farming and hazelnut supply chain;
Farmers’ led innovations and added value at producer level: agro-ecological model, traditional processed / finished product and local market.
The first day of the event was devoted to a meeting of farmers from the three countries. The participants discussed the problems and challenges in their countries and adopted a joint declaration. They made a decision to establish a permanent network of hazelnut producers and organizations and a permanent system for information exchange and monitoring that will develop joint advocacy strategy for creation of equal conditions for all hazelnut producers and for solving other important issues.
The second day of the event was devoted to the international conference, where together with the farmers from the three countries, the representatives from the World Food Organization, Italian government and academic institutions made their speeches. In the frame of the conference the debates were held with active participation of hazelnuts producers. During the last day of the event, the farmers had the opportunity to visit agroecological hazelnut farms and to get acquainted with their work.