IFF joins forces with Wrigley to support mint farmers

International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) is partnering with Mars Wrigley Confectionery to support its initiative of improving the long-term viability of mint farming in India.

The programme, called Shubh Mint, is part of AdvanceMint, a larger, global project to advance mint plant science and support mint farmers and their communities. IFF is specifically contributing to the initiative’s Resilient Communities pillar by sponsoring a municipal centre focused on youth education and women’s empowerment.

Despite its ubiquity in scores of flavoured products, such as gums, breath fresheners and candies, mint is an often-overlooked crop. Some 80% 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.

IFF chairman and CEO Andreas Fibig says the company believes benefits to the community as a whole will be “exponential”.

Matthias Haeni, group president of flavours at IFF, adds, “Mint is an important crop for our industry so ensuring a reliable supply chain of high-quality, natural mint is key. 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 centre through READ India, an arm of READ Global that expanded to India in 2007 to empower women and marginalised groups, and 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 the 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 centres in India.

John Buckley, global category director of mints and flavours at Mars Wrigley Confectionery, notes, “Together, we’re empowering farmers, their families and surrounding communities so that they – and the mint industry – thrive.”

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