Nearly three-quarters of the world’s hazelnuts come from Turkey and the biggest buyer is Ferrero, maker of Nutella, the chocolate and hazelnut spread. But the nuts are picked mainly by migrants, including children, who work long hours for very low pay. What is Ferrero doing to ensure its products do not depend on child labour?
Most of the pickers are seasonal migrants from the poverty-stricken south and east of Turkey, mainly Kurds.
And two of the pickers, Mustafa and Mohammed, are working illegally. They’re aged just 12 and 10, well below Turkey’s minimum working age.
Photo: – BBC
This is a typical scene in August, when the harvest is brought in along the Black Sea coast of Turkey, origin of 70% of the world’s hazelnut supplies.
The official wage rate set by local authorities is 95 lira a day. Worked out on an hourly basis, this is less than the official Turkish minimum net wage of 2,020 lira a month for a 40 or 45-hour week.
But this family will receive even less – a maximum of 65 lira a day each, and possibly as little as 50 – after they’ve paid a 10% commission to the labour contractor who brings them, and the fare to and from their home town of Sanliurfa, and living expenses while they’re away.
Kazim Yaman, co-owner of the orchard, says he is against child labour. “They are making their children work like machines. They think: ‘How many children, how much profit?'”
But he says most other farmers accept it – and that he has no option but to pay the children, because their parents insist that they work.
Farmers deliver their produce in sacks before selling on to cracking factories, or direct to exporters including Ferrero.
According to the BBC report, Ferrero does not check on the origin of the nuts.
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