25-50 Mio. EUR
Applied Financing Solutions
Grants, Concessional Loans, Private Equity, Blended Finance, Carbon Market
In operation since/from: 2024
Mountain Hazelnuts was founded in 2009 as Bhutan’s first 100% foreign direct investment with a mission of creating a profitable business that provides long-term income for vulnerable rural communities by planting 10 million hazelnut trees that restore degraded mountain slopes. While hazelnuts are indigenous to Bhutan, historically they have not been cultivated for commercial production. Mountain Hazelnuts has since established fully traceable hazelnut production, boosting the country’s exports and providing income generation opportunities for as much as 15% of the population through direct employment, extending to its supply chain, as well as hazelnut growers who sell their harvests to the Company.
Mountain Hazelnuts has integrated more than 5,000 womenled farming households in its value chain. Growers and community groups (e.g. nunneries) are provided with hazelnut trees and inputs, plus training on best agricultural practices, followed by bi-monthly extension visits. Mountain Hazelnuts buys all harvested nuts according to a guaranteed price structure that removes market risk for the growers and ensures a profitable crop. Mountain Hazelnuts transports the nuts to its processing plant for further drying, size sorting, and various value-adding processes. Mountain Hazelnuts hires women for significant roles throughout its operations, as well as in the grower communities in which it operates, enhancing their status and as leadership models throughout the country.
Success Factor | Hero Moment
As a result of Mountain Hazelnuts' activities, more households are engaged in hazelnut cultivation and more income-earning opportunities have been created for rural communities in Bhutan, especially for women. Farmers have access to skills and training to cultivate hazelnuts. There is increased knowledge of financial literacy and technical skills amongst employees, and greater adoption of health-seeking behavior and preventative care. This contributes to early detection of health challenges as well as improvement in overall health of the community. There is an increased presence of banking, infrastructure, and technology services and a better environment for business growth. Economic productivity and financial stability also improve in hazelnut growing communities, with more households being able to access basic services for the first time. Health and education outcomes continue to improve, leading to a better standard of living. Furthermore, there are key economic spill-over effects. Each of the 12,019 grower groups are comprised of an average of 5 persons, thereby impacting more than 60,000 growers, 1,200 suppliers, and direct employment of 700 staff.
Mountain Hazelnuts, Bhutan