Lucknow: Mars Wrigley Confectionery announced today the establishment of the Shubh Mint™ program with the announcement of results from its first year, in the presence of Shri Soraaj Singh, Director-Agriculture, Department of Agriculture, Government of Uttar Pradesh, partners and mint farmers.
Shri Soraaj Singh highlighted the need for collaborative solutions to address the challenges farmers face. Speaking at the event, which was co-hosted by Mars Wrigley Confectionery and NGO Agribusiness Systems International (ASI), he said “We welcome that Mars Wrigley Confectionery and other Shubh Mint partners have joined hands to better the lives of mint farmers in Uttar Pradesh. Increasing farmer profits is an important priority, as are good agricultural practices, particularly on soil conservation and the reduction of water consumption in mint production.”
The Shubh Mint™ program is focused on improving the long-term viability of mint by providing farmers with access to better planting materials, training on good agricultural practices and advancing the community through youth education and women’s empowerment programs. Supported by funding from Mars Wrigley Confectionery, the first year of the program brought a team of 30 extension workers to 68 villages across the state. These workers trained farmers on better growing practices – focusing on fundamentals such as irrigation frequency and fertilizer application.
In Uttar Pradesh, 10 lakhs farmers grow about 80 percent of the world’s mint supply; which is in everyday products like chewing gum, mints, oral care and pharmaceuticals. Agribusiness Systems International (ASI) Country Director Amit Singh noted farmers have faced challenges in the past. “Mint yields had been declining, plants were old and the soil dry. Through this program, we’ve been able to provide support.
“In our first year, we’ve seen remarkable results – farmers experienced an average yield increase of 68%, which well surpassed our initial goals. The impact of Shubh Mint™ on these farmers lives in nothing short of amazing.”
In total, 2,645 farmers received training this year. In addition to increasing their yields, many of these farmers spent less on input costs – saving an average of INR 6,222 over the course of the crop season.
“Through Shubh Mint, we will reach 20,000 farmers from villages in Barabanki and Lucknow over the next 5 years,” said Kim Frankovich, Vice President Global Sustainability at Mars Wrigley Confectionery. “By providing them with better plant material and training on better growing practices, we believe farmer yields and income from mint will double by 2021.”
The program’s reach extends beyond the farm. “We’re taking steps to ensure the entire community thrives,” shared Ms. Frankovich, “Through our partners, we’re organizing programs around women’s empowerment and youth education.”
“Our presence in Uttar Pradesh goes back many years,” she said. “Through a partnership with the Wrigley Company Foundation and Pratham, we’ve provided education to more than 100,000 youth across 800 villages.”
These efforts are evidence of Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s longstanding commitment to community engagement – a core pillar of the company’s Sustainable in a Generation Plan.
Introduced earlier this year, the Sustainable in a Generation Plan includes goals to reduce environmental impacts in line with what science says in necessary to keep the plant healthy, while meaningfully improving the lives of people in the value chain.
“India is a strategic market for Mars and therefore, an important sourcing destination,” shared Mr. Andrew Leakey, General Manager at Mars Wrigley Confectionery, India.
“Our sourcing footprint in India extends to a wide variety of crops, including mint, which is a critical ingredient for our gum and mints portfolio. Programs such as Shubh Mint™ have a great impact as they help us to create a difference where it matters most. As Associates of Mars India, we are proud to be connected to this program, and look forward to achieving impactful results year-on-year.”
The Shubh Mint™ program is made possible by a coalition of partners including founding partners Wrigley Company Foundation, Callisons, Sharp Mint Limited; implementing partners ASI, Pratham, READ India and supporting partner IFF.