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The brand known for its rich ice cream is hoping to spread some riches back to vanilla’s source: the farmers in Madagascar who supply Häagen-Dazs and its parent company, Minneapolis-based General Mills.
A two-year pilot training program set to launch this spring among villages in the country’s northeastern Sava region aims to provide training and education to several hundred farmers on how to cure vanilla. Curing — a multistep process that includes drying and storing the pods as a way to release their trademark fragrance — is performed mainly by vanilla suppliers and traders. Farmers will receive access to equipment and curing facilities as part of the program.