๐Œ๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐ญ๐š๐ข๐ง ๐‡๐š๐ณ๐ž๐ฅ๐ง๐ฎ๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฅ๐š๐ฒ ๐จ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ• ๐ž๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฒ๐ž๐ž๐ฌ

๐‘‡โ„Ž๐‘’ ๐ถ๐‘œ๐‘š๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘ฆ ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘™๐‘™, โ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘ค๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ, ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘–๐‘› 64 ๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘“๐‘“ ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘Ž๐‘”๐‘’ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘š๐‘™๐‘–๐‘›๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘ ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘๐‘’ ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐‘ค๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘˜

Staff Reporter from Thimphu
In restructuring its operation, the Mountain Hazelnuts (MH) will be laying off 157 staff by giving them
30 daysโ€™ notice this month.
However, the Company will retain 64 staff to manage the streamlined scope of work.
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โ€œWhilst the layoffs are inevitable due to the Companyโ€™s current situation, we do hope to re-engage the
laid off staff as the scope re-expands,โ€ states the press release from MH.
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According to the Company, it is also taking this opportunity to deepen key aspects of its partnership
with the hazelnut growers.
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โ€œAnother key piece is commencing discussions with the MoAF to increase the purchase price of
hazelnuts over the next five years. In addition, MH is committed to giving hazelnut growers
meaningful representation in the Companyโ€™s decision-making bodies,โ€ states the press release.
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According to the Company, the pandemic has brought significant challenges to MH. It triggered a financial shortfall, making it challenging for the Company to carry out its orchard optimization and
management programs.
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However, the Company stated that it has turned adversity into opportunity, streamlined its operational
model to make it more sustainable, and simultaneously engaged in discussions with key stakeholders
to secure funding. During this time, MH also collaborated closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and
Forests (MoAF) reaffirm that the biological foundation of hazelnuts is sound.
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The Company stated that it is restructuring its operations in line with newly secured funding.
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According to MH, next week, the Company will initiate a major program of grafting carefully selected
varieties into orchards to increase nut production through more flowering and improved pollination.
This grafting program will also increase resilience to climate change, which is an increasing problem,
especially in the Himalayan region. The grafting will be undertaken in a stepwise manner to
demonstrate the success of the program as it progresses. Over time, this will reach all growers
wanting to participate.
MHโ€™s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Sean Watson said, โ€œWe are grateful to our grower partners and key
stakeholders for their patience and support through these challenging times for the Company. We
have been given a second chance with newly secured funding and a streamlined operational model,
and we are confident that the changes we are making will benefit hazelnut growers and the Nation.โ€
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MHโ€™s Co-Founder and Chairman Daniel Spitzer added: โ€œMountain Hazelnuts was founded with a
vision of creating a source of sustainable income for farmers. We have gotten part of the way over the
past decade, establishing a platform for the future. We appreciate the close collaboration which will
enable us to fulfill the vision of lasting value for tens of thousands of people.โ€
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MHโ€™s Co-founder and CFO Teresa Law said, โ€œAlongside the business operations, much has been
achieved over the past 13 years in fostering multigenerational social welfare benefits, in terms of
health, community revitalization, and very importantly, female empowerment, complementing the
wonderful programs of the Royal Government. With these changes in the Company, these important
benefits will continue.โ€
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Meanwhile, MH was established as an impactful private enterprise to create long-term income
generation opportunities for smallholder farmers across Bhutan, while addressing key environmental
issues.
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According to the Company, it has established over 11,000 orchards and 3.3mn trees on fallow and
degraded agricultural land in 19 Dzongkhags across the country.