INDIA – Food and beverages company, PepsiCo is planning to invest US$5 million in India to expand its agricultural programmes in India by 2020.

According to ET Retail, the company currently works with 24,000 farmers in India to grow potato, rice, corn and citrus for its products such as Lays, Uncle Chipps, Kurkure snacks and Tropicana juice.

The company is looking to provide farmers with digital technology to supplement its already established programmes which focuses on building supplier relationships.

It runs a sustainable farming programme which provides education on field agronomy, fertilisers, irrigation, plant protection techniques and new technologies.

“The company has plans to double the collaborative farming network in the next five years, including expansion to new geographies,” Christine Daugherty, global vice president of sustainable agriculture at PepsiCo, told ET.

The initiative is lauded for aiding potato farmers increase their yields by up to 13%.

Farmer initiative

In addition to providing digital hand held machines for moisture level, pest detection, the company is piloting a project to digitally map the farms, terrain, ensure crop traceability to meet global quality standards.

Daugherty noted that PepsiCo has been working with Indian farmers for 28 years and currently works along with 24,000 farmers across 14 states through various agri-programs, including collaborative farming, direct seeding of rice and drip irrigation programs.
“In 2017, through our guidance of direct seeding of rice rather than going for flooding the fields and transplanting, we helped save 16.73 billion litres of water across six states – Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu,” she said.

With the programme, potato farmers in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat by using drip irrigation reduced water consumption by 20%.

According to her, all the potato used in Lay’s and Uncle Chipps is sourced from farmers in India making it the largest buyer of chip grade potato in the country.

It utilizes its potato mini tuber lab in Punjab to develop Potato mini tubers (seed), which are exported to Saudi Arab, Egypt, Turkey and Russia.

Pepsi Co procures its Toretto snacks from Bihar.

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