The purpose of this report is to assist the USAID/EPI staff that is working under CNFA and Deloitte Consulting LLP with locally grown hazelnuts. By using the experience of growing and processing hazelnuts in the State of Oregon, we will identify ways to implement or add value to the local hazelnut production. While the trees are vastly different in tree structure, there are similar concerns and issues that Georgia and Oregon have in common.
EPI identified some concerns that can be modified to help the grower with better yields, quality, and better returns back to the grower. The principal issues are the understanding of the importance of a balanced nutritional program, a valid IPM program, and orchard floor management. Through the Oregon formal PowerPoint presentation, it was shown how orchards look and are maintained which created interest in the grower group. Interaction continued to develop and discussion followed as to how Georgian growers might make some changes to their operation. At all presentations there were concerns from the growers questioning whether they had enough funds to make changes that would help them.
In the field surveys there was a constant concern regarding surface water management during the wet period. Other concerns were correct nutrients for the plants, bud mite and black fly control, weed and grass management, and some rodent control. While it wasn’t popular amongst the growers, I was suggesting that they plant trees closer together to get a higher yield per hectare. Space is needed for ditches that are used for water management, but it seems that there could be trees planted closer together creating a high density type planting, and resulting in higher yields.
The USAID/EPI office will be developing a 12-month calendar that will lay out tasks and suggestions for the timing of different jobs that need to be done in the orchards. This can be distributed in tandem with the training video that is being compiled from our formal presentations.