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Organic-Fair Farming

The Rapunzel Turkey project

An organic farming showcase initiative
It's the 1970s. Neither organic dried fruit nor organic nuts are available in Germany. Rapunzel founder, Joseph Wilhelm had to face this situation at the time. How could this be changed? What could be done? Without further ado, Joseph Wilhelm went to Turkey searching for natural, untreated ingredients. There, he met peasant families and food processors who were very open-minded to the idea of organic cultivation - this marked the birth of the Rapunzel Turkey project.
Today, on a total area of 2,300 hectares nearly 390 Turkish farming families grow organic apricots, hazelnuts, sultanas, figs, olives and many other products for Rapunzel. Permanently employed agricultural engineers from the subsidiary Rapunzel Organik Tarim advise, teach and accompany the farmers year-round at no additional cost. This creates confidence and competence thanks to long-time partnerships and personal cooperation.
The German health food producer is one of the most important organic pioneers in Turkey. The Rapunzel subsidiary in Ören near the city of Izmir is the only large company in the entire country were exclusively organic products are processed.  

Guaranteed organic, guaranteed fair-trade

Back then as well as today, the Rapunzel Turkey projects stands for 100 percent organic quality, direct and shared responsibility for the Turkish peasant families.

Permanency, reliable cooperation, respect and organic cultivation according to strict standards ensure the continuous success of the Turkey project.
Fair-trade and organic cultivation go hand in hand in the Rapunzel Turkey project. In 2018, an independent agency confirmed that the Rapunzel subsidiary in Ören as well as the Rapunzel hazelnut-cracking plant in Turkey comply with the high, international Sedex SMETA social standards. The certification also included additional aspects such as health care, occupational safety, environmental aspects and corporate ethics.

Environmental protection measures

For years, Rapunzel has been committed to protecting the environment in Turkey. For every container or truck that leaves the company in Ören Rapunzel donates a tree to offset CO2 emissions. Trees are also donated when employees have children or when employees celebrate birthday. This way, Rapunzel planted nearly 7,000 trees in Turkey in the year 2019.
In their role as project partners in the initiative "Partnership for the protection of biodiversity in European viticulture" the Turkish project farmers already significantly improved the biodiversity on their plots. The intensive support and the training of the peasant families, e.g. in the use of beneficial insects, resulted in further improvement of biodiversity. 

Demeter – biodynamic cultivation in Turkey

In the fall 2000, about 15 Turkish farmers started to convert to controlled biodynamic farming.

Today, 47 farmers grow hazelnuts, apricots, figs and sultanas for Rapunzel in Demeter quality.
Regular trainings extend the farmers' knowledge. At first, the needed Demeter preparations were bought from renowned Demeter farms in Germany. Today, the Turkish peasant families manufacture the preparations themselves. The preparations made with manure, medicinal plants and minerals enhance soil fertility in a sustainable way.

This is what Rapunzel guarantees for all products from the Turkey project

Organic standards

  • 100 % certified and controlled organic quality
  • continuous training of the peasant families by Rapunzel's permanently employed agricultural engineers

Fair standards

  • direct procurement from the farmers (best added value for the farmers) 
  • fair partnerships and fair prices for the farming families plus an organic premium 
  • guaranteed purchase of agreed delivery quantities
  • prepayment if needed

Quality standards

  • regular quality controls carried out by quality assurance in Turkey, in Germany and by renowned external laboratories
  • Swiss standard for organic certification of cultivation and food processing (bio.inspecta)
  • System for complete traceability ("farmer codes") - from the shelf to the field.

Social standards

  • for Turkey extraordinary high social standards with health and pension insurance and a free, warm, daily lunch for all employees in the subsidiary in Ören
  • bright and ecologically airconditioned workplaces, sanitary and social rooms pursuant to German workplace ordinance
  • No child labor or home-working; this ensures social insurance benefits and compliance with sanitary and quality standards
  • independent inspection of social and ethical corporate activity

Environmental standards

  • energy efficiency and high environmental standards throughout the entire processing chain
  • improvement of the entrepreneurial carbon footprint through tree planting

Fair trade and organic farming are central for Rapunzel

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