Food

Hazelnuts Improving Livelihoods and Landscapes

The Mountain Hazelnuts Group (MHG) is a triple bottom line company working to improve the livelihoods of Bhutanese farmers as well as the condition of the surrounding environment. By planting millions of hazelnut trees in overgrazed and deforested foothills in the Himalayas, the enterprise has increased forest cover by 22,000 acres and is helping local farmers and communities to produce large quantities of the high-value crop for export.

MHG distributes hazelnut tree seedlings to thousands of farmers, who plant the seedlings on their land after receiving business training from the company. MHG also establishes demonstration farms where farmers can learn about the most efficient planting and harvesting techniques. Individual farmers sell the harvested hazelnuts back to MHG, which guarantees a minimum price based on their 30-year Memorandum of Understanding with the Royal Government of Bhutan.

Why you should care

More than half of Bhutan’s labor force is engaged in agricultural work, where they grow mostly rice, corn and root crops. Many people, however, are increasingly drawn to cities in search of improved economic opportunities. In this context, MHG stimulates rural economies in a way that also protects the environment.

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