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Wanted: local hazelnut growers to supply Ferrero Rocher.

Local farmers will now be able to plant commercially viable hazelnut trees to supply Ferrero Rocher with nuts.

The University of Guelph has developed several varieties of trees now available for widespread planting in southern Ontario where climate and soil conditions are favourable. A recently developed Ontario Hazelnut Association (OHA) is now looking for landowners to become involved in this promising industry.

Brant has encouraged the Province of Ontario to fund research on developing hazelnut varieties to satisfy the quality and taste requirements of Ferrero Rocher, which is located in Brantford's Northwest Industrial Park beside Brant's southern boundary. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs developed a number of varieties at the University of Guelph.

Ferrero Rocher produces products such as Nutella, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Mon Cheri, Tic Tac, Kinder Bueno, Kinder, and Raffaello.

Ferrero Rocher Canada annually imports about 800,000 acres worth of hazelnuts from Turkey, its main supplier, worth about $70 million. In Turkey, the trees are typically grown on steep slopes and workers are becoming continually scarcer. Ferrero is hoping that Ontario will be able to supply hazelnuts within a couple of years.

Other products extracted from hazelnuts include a cancer-fighting enzyme, hazelnut milk and oils, and a byproduct for a possible Frangelico distillery.

An Apr. 3 report by Michael Buranyi, Brant's Economic Development Officer, recommended that the county continue its sponsorship of the Ontario Hazelnut Association at an annual cost of $2,000, funded by the economic development promotions budget.

Last year, an annual hazelnut symposium was attended by more than 120 people. More than 200 farmers have expressed interest in growing hazelnuts for Ferrero.

Council will consider the recommendation at its Apr. 29 meeting.
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Publication:Paris Chronicle (Paris, Canada)
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:Apr 28, 2014
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