07 January 2018

It’s Time For Our Farmers to Remunerate All Year Work!

It’s Time For Our Farmers to Remunerate All Year Work!

It’s time to collect the fruits of year-round work with our farmers. How are we going to determine the right harvest time and the correct harvest method?

What are the elements that determine the harvest time?

  • Provincial and District Directorates of Agriculture and Forestry,
  • Associations and Chambers of Agriculture
  • Expatriates who live abroad and come to Turkey just for hazelnut harvest,
  • Neighbor farmers starting the harvest
  • Economic situation of the farmer

What are the important things we need to do before harvest?

Firstly, before harvest, we would like to underline cleaning of the farm. Due to rain, weed is constantly growing on the farm. Therefore, it’s very important to clean the farm before the harvest. If not, it will be hard to collect the hazelnuts from the ground and from the trees. It is ideal for the farmer to clean the farm at least 5-10 days before the harvest.  

In order to dry the hazelnuts, a drying area should be prepared.

Seasonal migrant workers or local workers should not be forgotten before preparing for the harvest. For this;

You must determine when and how many workers do you need during harvest so that you don’t face difficulties later. While doing that one of the subject that needs careful attention is the certificate of the labor contractor you communicate. The labor contractor must have a Registration Certificate that is approved from İŞKUR.

At your interview with your labor contractor, the number of workers, accommodation standards, living conditions (electricity, water, number of rooms etc.) should be shared openly and honestly. Most importantly, you must indicate that you will not employ children in your hazelnut harvest. You have to state that the minimum working age mentioned in the Turkish Labor Law is still 16 and under certain conditions that you can permit young workers aged between16-18 with consent from their parents.

There is a circular issued by the Prime Ministry of Turkey about the Seasonal Migrant Workers working in the agricultural sector.

Rights covered under this circular:

Right to Shelter

The farmer should provide an adequate accommodation to all workers in decent living conditions, giving access to electricity, water and hygiene.

Institutions stated in the Circular that are responsible from Right to Shelter;

Governorship: At areas where seasonal migrant workers are employed intensively; it is the governorships’ responsibility to control, audit and provide residential areas with access to education and social activities, which meet the basic needs of workers, climate-friendly, safe, economic, functional, prefabricated, concrete or steel-framed building with an adequate size of electricity, water and sewage infrastructure and superstructure.

Municipality: It is the duty of the municipality to ensure that the temporary settlements are regularly controlled and audited and if necessary sprayed against all kinds of pests, removal of wastes and providing clean drinking and/or portable water. Outside the borders of the municipality, special provincial administrations are responsible from the same services.

Special Provincial Administration: Workers' residences must meet the minimum requirements that is defined in the Circular such as laundry, washing, toilets and bathrooms.

Right to a decent transportation

Seasonal agricultural workers must travel in conditions that are safe for human transportation. Transportation should be done with safe vehicles and appropriate to the number of people.

The transportation should not be done between 24:00- 06:00 hours because of reduce the risk of accidents.

Regular breaks should be given in long hours of travel and the drivers should be rested accordingly. Vehicles should not be overloaded.

Right to access to health services

Pregnant women and infants with vaccination follow-up should informed their family physicians about their travel plans before they travel in order to benefit from health services in destination.

Institutions related with Right to access to health services

Provincial Public Health Directorate: Seasonal agricultural workers and their families, as well as regular screening, screening, vaccination, monitoring of pregnant women and children. Reproductive and women's health services, environmental health services and health literacy activities, periodic execution of the task. Mobile health teams will be created to facilitate access to these services and services.

Right to Access to Education

According to the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Circular, when seasonal agricultural workers return to the provinces where they reside permanently, they can benefit from the various trainings and vocational training courses offered by the Provincial Directorates, Public Education Centers and Vocational Training Centers.

Provincial Directorate of National Education: First of all, the Directorate should ensure that the building, which is created for educational and social activities in temporary residential areas, is used as an effective training center for children. Encouraging measures such as conditional transfer will be implemented effectively, and children's school clothing and materials will be provided by the governorship through social assistance and solidarity foundations.

Also, educational facilities will be provided by the Counselling Research Centers for children with special educational needs.

With the help of the Circular of the Prime Ministry, as a farmer you provided the decent living conditions for your workers. Now, you need to have a written contract titled as ‘Workers Contract for Harvest’ which is a contract to protect you and your workers’ rights. Considering the wage specified in the Commission on Harvest Labor Wages created by the Governorship, the contract states the workers' wages, the days when the workers will work, and how the wage will be made and to whom. You can learn wages from the District Governorships, mukhtars, agricultural chambers and İŞKUR. As an employer you should make sure that labor contractor or you should take the contract to İŞKUR in 10 days after signing for approval.

Now it’s time to define and inform workers’ job descriptions, occupational health and safety rules before workers enter the farm.

  • Before start working in the farm, each workers has to be aware of their duties and responsibilities. exp: cook, sergeant and young workers works should be determined and explained in detail their duties and responsibilities.
  • Dangerous areas should be shown to workers in the farm.
  • Emergency phone numbers and things to do in case of emergency should be explained in details.
  • The location of the first aid kit should be shown.
  • The areas far hand washing, drinking water, toilet etc should be shown.
  • Please warn your workers to wear personal protective equipment before starting to work. Hat, gloves, mask, closed shoes, glasses, etc.

After completing this stage, your workers are ready for hazelnut collection. So as a farmer, do your responsibilities finish? Not yet because you must be sure that your workers are treated equally. It is useful to remind your workers of the number of support services.

YİMER 157: Support for human trafficking and forced foreign labor.

ALO 170: All kinds of complaints and advice on working conditions. (Ministry of Labor and Social Security)

ALO 155: Support line for violence, abuse

ALO 183: Support line for individuals in need of help or for children in need of protection.

MEBİM 147: In order to ensure equality of opportunity in education, the support line is established to solve all kinds of information, questions, demands, opinions, suggestions, denouncements and complaints from students, parents, teachers and all other citizens.

ofi Turkey SUPPORT LINE:  Workers and their families can contact and providing feedback about working conditions or living conditions during harvest 0800 374 00 01- 0850 811 14 74

10 steps to prepare safe spaces for our children with their families.

  1. Areas under and around safe children's playgrounds must be filled with soft shavings such as wood shavings and sand to prevent injury. This filling must be at least 30 centimeters.
  2. In safe spaces that have a risk of falling from 180 cm or more, the floor of the equipment of the play group must be covered with a soft material such as rubber.
  3. The distance between the child safe space equipment units should be set apart 180 cm or more. Thus, it will be easier and safer for children to move from one unit to another.
  4. If there is a swing in safe spaces, no openings such as open hooks on the underside of the screws should be left. Parts of this type can cause injury to children or cause their clothes to tear off.
  5. If there are game platforms in safe spaces, the openings between the handrails, the fences and the stairways must not be within the width range that would be dangerous. It should not be lower than 9 cm or higher than 25 cm. The remaining openings between these two values can pose a danger to children's head, foot or hands.
  6. Equipment in the safe spaces should not contain sharp edges or sharp surfaces. The moving parts should be designed so that they do not pinch their fingers.
  7. Tree root, stone, tree branch, and things that can harm children’s foot things should not be present on the ground of the safe space.
  8. If there are playgrounds in safe spaces, guardrails must be provided on the walkways and ramps.
  9. Safe spaces should be checked periodically. Precaution should be taken if security-endangering points have occurred.
  10. Safe spaces established in the workers' house or in the hazelnut farm should be in a way that parents can observe their children comfortably.

When you should you start the harvest?

  • Yellowing and redness of the husk by 80%,
  • The shells begin to turn in the hask,
  • Easy peeling of the husk,
  • 3/4 falling of the hazelnuts when the branches are shaken,
  • Redness of the entire hard shell,
  • Humidity falls below 30%.

What are the drawbacks of early and late harvest?

In our country, due to the problem of finding workers at harvest time in places where workers are used in harvest, farmers start harvesting early.
Early harvested hazelnuts, when dried the ratio of the wrinkled kernel will increase.  This leads to a decrease in efficiency. Also, early harvest has a negative effect on the rate of raw fat and protein in hazelnuts. As the amount of moisture in hazelnut will be high due to early harvest, drying process is long and cannot be done healthily. This reduces the storage life of hazelnuts.
Early harvested hazelnuts have high aflatoxin and rotten values.

If the harvest has come and the hazelnuts are left on the ground for a long time, the rotten and mold will occur.

What are the harvest methods?

Harvest can be done in 3 ways; collecting from the tree, ground and machine.

Collecting from the Tree (Early harvest); This harvest method is usually used in the Eastern Black Sea Region because the terrain is very prone to picking hazelnuts from the ground. In this method, the maturing hazelnuts are collected from the branch by hand without spilling. Hazelnuts collected from the branches are filled in baskets. The filled baskets are transferred to sacks and taken to drying instead of threshing. Disadvantages; since hazelnuts are harvested before the required maturity, quality decreases and the branches, twigs and buds that will form the product of the next year will be damaged. Efficiency and quality will decrease. Labor cost and drying time will increase. Fat and protein are reduced. The risk of aflatoxin formation increases. Shelf life is shortened.

Collecting from the Ground; The best way to harvest hazelnuts is to collect from the ground by shaking. As nuts are harvested after reaching enough maturity, branches, twigs and buds are not damaged. Increases efficiency and quality. With ground collection, labor costs and drying time decrease. The rate of mold and rotten is reduced.

Machine harvest; It is a form of harvest that is used for a faster harvest and is used because of the high cost of labor. After a good ground cleaning and preparation in certain parts of the flat and sloping land, it can be harvested from long distances by means of a hose.

Things to do after harvest

  • Harvest the hazelnuts in jute sacks the same day. Do not let them wait in Nylon or PP bags and keep them in a crowded farm. Otherwise, hazelnuts will be mold and rotten.
  • Do not stack hazelnuts that you bring into the drying area, so as to form large piles and thick layers.
  • Protect hazelnuts from contact with soil and protect them from rain. The drying area must be concrete and slightly slanted.
  • To protect them from rain, cover the nylon covers on the hazelnuts.
  • When hazelnuts are dried on the concrete and reached enough maturity they should be given to patoz for de-husking.
  • For the de-husking process, make sure that the hazelnuts are completely separated from the husk, but the shell is not damaged.
  • Dry the inshell hazelnuts in a slightly slanted and clean concrete drying area.
  • In order to protect the drying hazelnuts from the rain, you should cover them with a gazebo at least 30-40 cm height.
  • Select the foreign substances among the hazelnuts. These can cause molding if they are left there.
  • After drying the nuts, fill them in jute bags early in the morning or late in the evening.
  • When hazelnuts are stored with Nylon or PP bags aflatoxin ratio increases and it affects both the quality of the hazelnut and the human health.

As ofi Turkey family, we wish our farmers a good and prosperous harvest….