India: PepsiCo is planning to invest $5 million that is INR 36.6 crore in India by 2020 for expanding their agricultural programmes in the country. The company presently works with around 24,000 farmers in the country to grow rice, potato, citrus and corn for its products such as Lays, Kurkure snacks, Uncle Chipps and Tropicana juice. This is expected to increase the production and quality of products of PepsiCo regionally as well as globally.
Christine Daugherty, global vice president of sustainable agriculture at PepsiCo, “The Company has plans to double the collaborative farming network in the next five years, including expansion to new geographies.” PepsiCo is also interested in bringing digital technology to the farms, According to Daugherty, “We are connecting farmers to mobile apps which gives information from pest management to weather information.”
Through the sustainable farming programme, PepsiCo provides education on fertilisers, irrigation, field agronomy, plant protection techniques, and new technologies. PepsiCo’s relationship with the farmers in India goes back 28 years and they have been working along with 24,000 farmers across 14 states through various agricultural programs, which include, direct seeding of rice, collaborative farming, and drip irrigation programs.
According to BlueWeave Consulting, PepsiCo obtains potato, corn, rice and citrus for its Lays, Kurkure snacks, Uncle Chipps and Tropicana juice. All the potato that is used in Lay’s and Uncle Chipps is sourced from the farmers in India. PepsiCo, in fact, is the largest buyer of chip grade potato in the country today. The potato mini tuber lab which is based in Punjab not only cultivates Potato mini tubers (seed) but also exports these to Egypt, Saudi Arab, Russia, and Turkey. Further, it procures corn from Bihar for its Toretto snacks.
In 2017, through the guidance of PepsiCo team the farmers went for direct seeding of rice rather than going for flooding the fields and transplanting, which helped save 16.73 billion liters of water across six states in the country namely – Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. This enables the farmers to save 30% water in paddy cultivation. Similarly, potato farmers in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh reduced water consumption by 20% by using drip irrigation. According to the company officials, the potato farmers have also seen an increase in the yield by up to 13% under their guidance. The company had a pilot project to digitally map the terrain, farms, ensure crop traceability to meet quality standards globally. They have also been providing their agronomists with digital handheld machines to input details related to a farm from detection of pest, moisture level, etc. and monitor the efficiency of a farm. This investment is anticipated to expand the production along with the quality of PepsiCo products regionally and globally and have a positive impact on the consumer goods industry.