International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF) has partnered with Mars Wrigley Confectionery in its initiative to improve the long-term viability of mint farming in India.
Earlier this year, Mars Wrigley Confectionery launched the global AdvanceMint program, known as Shubh Mint in India. It’s designed to advance mint plant science and support mint farmers and their communities.
Mars Wrigley will train more than 20,000 smallholder farmers in Uttar Pradesh in good agricultural practices, and by 2025, the company aims to improve productivity, reduce water consumption by 30 percent and improve farmers’ incomes.
IFF is contributing through the initiative’s “Resilient Communities” pillar by sponsoring a municipal center focused on youth education and women’s empowerment.
“IFF has a track record of partnering to strengthen supply chains and the communities that power them,” said Andreas Fibig, IFF chairman and ceo. “We are very proud to join with Mars Wrigley Confectionery to support this initiative — and we believe the benefits to the community as a whole will be exponential.”
Despite its ubiquity in scores of flavored products, such as gums, breath fresheners and candies, mint is an often-overlooked crop. Eighty percent of the world’s mint supply is produced in India by about one million smallholder farmers — many of whom depend on mint crops for their income. However, declining crops are putting pressure on already low incomes, putting the farms and their communities at risk.
“Mint is an important crop for our industry, so ensuring a reliable supply chain of high-quality, natural mint is key,” added Matthias Haeni, IFF’s group president, flavors. “Partnering to support these critical smallholder farmers lets us leverage experience IFF gained last year as we worked to strengthen the vetiver supply chain, so, it was an easy lift for us to support hyper-local initiatives like this for the community.”
For the Shubh Mint initiative, IFF is sponsoring a community center through READ India, an arm of READ Global that expanded to India in 2007 to create educational and economic opportunities in rural areas. Through READ India, the company seeks to empower women in the community with the skills they need to offset financial pressures caused by challenges to the mint crops. Fibig delivered IFF’s first sponsorship check to READ in October, and the company has committed to sponsoring two more centers in India.
“We’re thrilled to have IFF join us and our other partners in this exciting initiative,” said John Buckley, global category director, mints & flavors, Mars Wrigley Confectionery. “Together, we’re empowering farmers, their families and surrounding communities so that they — and the mint industry — thrive.”