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Mars Wrigley Launches Program to Boost Income, Climate Resiliency for Mint Farmers

Image Credit: Marko Blažević

An estimated 750,000 farmers in India produce 80 percent of the world’s supply of mint and the oil derived from the crop — commonly referred to as “liquid gold” — is an important source of income for farmers. Recognizing the critical role the crop plays in these communities, MARS Wrigley Confectionery (MWC) — the company behind brands such as Doublemint, Extra and Orbit — has launched a program to increase their yields and profits, while simultaneously boosting climate resilience through the use of sustainable agricultural practices.

Mint represents a $700 million industry worldwide, but many of the farmers producing the valuable crop currently employ outdated farming techniques to grow it on less than one acre of land. A year ago, MWC — which uses mint to flavor 65 percent of its products — partnered with nonprofit Agribusiness Systems International (ASI) to establish the Shubh Mint program in an effort to improve the long-term viability of mint farming in India. Part of a larger global initiative called AdvanceMint, which aims to advance mint plant science and support farmers and their communities, the program endeavors to train more than 20,000 smallholder farmers on improving soil health and lowering water consumption in water-stressed areas.

In addition to training on good agricultural practices, the program has also provided farmers with better access to planting materials and established youth education and women’s empowerment programs. By 2021, the goal is for 20,000 farmers in Barabunki and Lucknow to adopt good agricultural practices, double their incomes from mint and reduce water use by 30 percent.

Over the past year, 2,645 farmers in 68 villages have received training and, as a result, increased their average yields by 68 percent, while reducing average input costs by 23 percent. The program has also established 150 self-help groups and 50 women’s farmer groups and provided basic educational skills to children in 600 Indian mint farming villages. In 2018, MWC and ASI will continue to support these farmers and engage another 5,000, bringing the program’s reach to more than 7,500.

Shubh Mint is one example of Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s commitment to supporting a “Healthy Planet and Thriving People” and is one way of delivering growth through its Sustainable in a Generation Plan. The program is made possible by a coalition of partners including founding partners Wrigley Company Foundation, Callisons and Sharp Mint Limited; implanting partners ASI, Pratham and READ India; and supporting partner IFF.


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