Italian confectioner Ferrero has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Serbian government to support hazelnut growing in the country.
Hazelnuts are one of the company’s key commodities, which it uses for its signature Ferrero Rocher brand.
The company’s subsidiary Ferrero Trading Lux signed the deal with Serbian government to increase the country’s hazelnut growing area from 1,000 hectares to over 10,000 hectares by 2020.
Serbia currently imports 90% of its hazelnuts, mainly from Turkey and Georgia. Ferrero will invest to improve production in central and eastern Serbia.
The company also plans to set up its own production n on 1,000 hectares, and to establish cooperative relations with farmers in central and southern Serbia.
Last year, Ferrero opened a $119m plant in Turkey, the world’s premier hazelnut exporter. In 2009, Ferrero was cleared of alleged hazelnut fraud in a case that spanned seven years.