HOLZMINDEN, GERMANY — Unilever and one of its suppliers, Symrise, have entered a partnership designed to increase vanilla productivity and improve the livelihoods of 4,000 vanilla farmers in the Sava region of Madagascar, a country that produces 79% of the world’s natural vanilla supply.

The three-year program will include farmer field schools that will focus on vanilla production and encourage crop diversification. The program will support environmental education in primary schools.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a German federal enterprise involved in sustainable development, also is part of the partnership. The GIZ will work on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is partly financing the program.

Unilever uses vanilla as an ingredient in ice cream brands such as Magnum, Breyers and Carte D’Or. The partnership aims to secure Unilever’s vanilla supply in the future.

Holzminden-based Symrise supplies fragrances, flavorings, cosmetic active ingredients, raw materials and functional ingredients. The company’s customers include manufacturers of foods, beverages, perfumes and cosmetics as well as companies in the pharmaceutical industry and nutritional supplement producers.