FOR FARMERS and landowners
Across Bhutan, thousands of farmers and community organizations are partnering with Mountain Hazelnuts to plant millions of hazelnut trees. Many more will join them. Growing hazelnuts offers a stable, reliable means of generating income.
Farmers with access to suitable land and demonstrated commitment: Mountain Hazelnuts provides trees free of cost, consistent technical and field support, and a guarantee to purchase the nuts.
Landowners who would like their fallow land turned into a hazelnut orchard: Mountain Hazelnuts will assist in fostering a cooperative relationship with farmers who need access to a suitable planting site.
Where hazelnuts thrive
Many mid-elevation areas in the Himalayas with sufficient rainfall meet the criteria for growing hazelnuts. With Bhutan’s agro-climatic profile, hazelnuts generally thrive between 1,600 and 3,000 meters. Trees should only be planted in fallow land with a valid land title or lease, and in accordance with national land use and environmental regulations. No hazelnuts may be planted in areas that are currently producing other crops. The minimum size for orchards is half an acre.
Benefits of hazelnuts
Growing hazelnuts reduces market risk, compared to other crops that are suitable for Bhutan's mid-altitudes, where relatively few cash crops can be grown economically. The primary alternatives are apples, which require much greater investment and are difficult to transport from remote locations, and potatoes, which are subject to dramatic price and demand fluctuations as demand is dependent on the Indian market.
Years of research show that hazelnuts grow reliably in Bhutan. Hazelnut is a low-input crop, meaning farmers do not have to devote substantial labor or resources to their cultivation. In addition, Mountain Hazelnuts mitigates the risks to farmers by guaranteeing a profitable floor price for purchasing their nuts and providing extensive support and expertise.
What to Expect
Hazelnut trees generally begin producing nuts after three years. The first several harvests tend to be small, but steadily increase through years five, six and seven. During the first few winters, irrigation may be required to establish the trees. Farmers should control weeds in their fields. The Company’s Monitoring team works with farmers to determine how to most effectively control pests and protect orchards from animals.
Support for Farmers
Growing a new crop such as hazelnuts requires support and expertise. Such assistance is provided at no cost:
- Deliver seedlings free of cost to the closest road point
Training & Study Tours:
- Group training during Advocacy meetings
- Demonstration and training conducted during planting of trees in each farmer’s field
- Study tours for growers to nurseries in Lingmethang and Ngatshang, combined with visits to well-managed hazelnut orchards near your community
Monitoring and Regional Extension:
- Field Monitors visit each orchard every 30-45 days to assess tree health and environmental conditions, while training growers in orchard management
- Provide timely technical support in controlling diseases and pests
- Field Monitors and Mountain Hazelnuts’ experts assist farmers in setting up solar powered electric fences to reduce damage from animals
JOIN THE HAZELNUT PROGRAM
Mountain Hazelnuts is expanding its partnership with new farmers and landowners.
If you are interested in joining the hazelnut program, please contact Lhatu at firstname.lastname@example.org or +975 17110048 or speak with the Mountain Hazelnuts Field Monitor serving your community.