Mountain Hazelnuts, with technical assistance from international experts, uses technological and scientific innovations to tackle the challenges of producing a new crop in a rugged geography. The Company has shared several tools and practices with other mission-oriented companies working around the world.
TRACEABILITy via DIGITAL data collection
To support its global supply chain, Mountain Hazelnuts has developed an Android-based Remote Monitoring & Traceability system (RMT) for digital reporting. From cultivation of plantlets through the shipment of export products, hazelnuts are tracked at each step of the process. End consumers will be able to see detailed information regarding the nuts they eat, ensuring a rare degree of traceability and transparency.
RMT is essential for monitoring thousands of geographically-dispersed orchards, where real-time operational reporting is required for functions ranging from verifying land suitability to monitoring tree care to evaluating social and environmental impact. This sophisticated data collection system links local farmers to operational headquarters, enabling intervention from experts as necessary and the promulgation of best practices, while aggregating data for pattern analysis.
PLANT REPLICATION VIA TISSUE CULTURE
To optimize quality and productivity, the Company provides farmers with hazelnut trees best suited to the environment. A challenge is to grow millions of such trees with consistent quality, free from disease or defect. Historically, most hazelnut orchards are planted from seeds or cuttings, which are slower and less controlled methods of reproduction.
Tissue culture techniques regenerate plants that are genetically identical to the original “mother” under sterile conditions. Tissue culture has several advantages:
- Rapid exponential growth: within one year, one plant can be replicated into hundreds of plants
- Controlled environment: scientific processes in a lab environment produce consistent results, lowering mortality and increasing yields
- Year-round multiplication: tissue culture continues each month, stabilizing production and insulating from seasonal cycles.
Mountain Hazelnuts has developed proprietary hazelnut tissue culture know-how, which it applies in a well-established international tissue culture lab.
OPTIMIZED LOGISTICS SYSTEM
Mountain Hazelnuts works with farmers spread out across Bhutan's mid-elevation zones. Efficient logistics management is essential for distributing seedlings, monitoring orchards, and collecting nuts. The Company has developed a system that determines ideal distribution points and routes and also optimizes logistics under dynamic constraints, such as landslides. The system minimizes transit time and costs, enabling the Company to work with more farmers more effectively.
PLACE-SPECIFIC NURSERY DESIGN
In building the world's largest hazelnut nursery, Mountain Hazelnuts tested numerous designs to determine the most appropriate structure for local topography, geo-technical conditions, and climate. The resultant structures utilize a flexible configuration that makes use of the limited areas of flat land and allow for seismic activity. High summertime temperatures led to the development of closely-monitored cooling systems which protect sensitive young plantlets from temperature fluctuations.