Hazelnut processing in Georgia
For about 10 years, Pakka has been supporting farming families in Georgia to build a sustainable hazelnut value chain. In the meantime, the hazelnuts are certified organic and are processed in a modern local facility and sold through Fair Trade in Switzerland and Europe.
16 January, 2024 by
Pakka AG

In 2018, a modern nut processing plant was built in Chitatskari in western Georgia. It was financed with the help of Pakka and other partners. Today, under the name "Pakka Georgia", the company employs around 35 full-time employees and 115 seasonal workers, who take care of the entire processing chain from drying, cracking, roasting and chopping to packaging. Pakka Georgia" thus creates valuable jobs outside agriculture and generates added value in Georgia, the country of origin of the raw materials.

Read more about Pakka's involvement in Georgia

Or read on to find out about the complex process our Pakka hazelnuts go through from cultivation to packaging.

The journey from cultivation to end product

As in many orchards, hazelnut trees are planted in rows. About five years after planting, the hazelnut trees bear fruit for the first time. However, they can produce nuts for up to 50 years.

Hazelnut trees pollinate in late winter and grow in spring and summer. As they develop, the nuts take on a green to hazel colour until they are ripe.

The harvest season in Georgia begins in mid-August. The nuts are mostly harvested by farmers and workers by hand. They are then stripped of the outermost shell and either dried in the sun by the farmers or taken to the factory.

Quality control
Upon arrival at the «Pakka Georgia» processing plant, the hazelnuts are inspected in-shell for the following parameters: Moisture, yield, internal rot or mould and insect bites. If the quality meets the required criteria, the hazelnuts are processed in-shell.

At the beginning of the season (August-September) September, the moisture content of the nuts is high. During this time they are actively dried. "Pakka Georgia" has a total of 14 drying silos and is capable of drying 120 tonnes of raw material at a time. Once the moisture content reaches the required level of 5.5%-6%, the drying process is stopped and the dried nuts are transferred to temporary storage silos before cracking begins.

Now the cracking and selection process begins. Immediately before the actual cracking of the hazelnuts, they first pass through a destoner, which separates stones and other heavier foreign bodies from the raw material. In parallel, cyclone machines are used to remove dust and foreign bodies that are lighter than the hazelnuts. After cleaning, the nuts are sorted by size, the cracking machines are set to the desired size and the nuts are cracked accordingly.​

Selection before roasting
Before the nuts enter the packing line, they are again manually sorted and then passed through 2mm sieves to remove any last foreign bodies or particles. The hazelnuts are then packed into 1000kg bags for temporary storage.

Roasting is carried out according to customer requirements. The process begins by feeding the processing line where the hazelnuts again pass through a de-stoner. This additional step guarantees the purity of the processed products. The hazelnuts are then roasted in the oven. The degree of roasting is determined by the customer.

After roasting, the hazelnuts are sorted again by hand and packed in vacuum bags or subjected to a further processing step such as chopping or grinding.
Finally, the finished products destined for shipping are labelled, palletised and stored. Now the Georgian organic hazelnuts are ready for shipping!