The investment will help bring innovation to Indian farmers
By Diego Flammini
A large food and beverage producer is making a multimillion dollar investment to give its suppliers access to new ag technology.
PepsiCo announced plans to invest US$5 million into its Sustainable Farming Program in India by 2020. The funding will provide several benefits including developing demonstration plots, and helping local farmers connect with agronomists using tablets.
“Digitization is something we are looking at in a big way,” Christine Daugherty, PepsiCo’s vice-president of global sustainable agriculture and responsible sourcing, told Quartz on Monday. “When we started sourcing from India, many years ago, we would rely on manual inputs.
“To transfer (field) information to the farmer in a timely manner is really difficult when you have to physically write it down and get there. So now we are working with providing our in-house agronomists with tablets.”
The company is also tailoring its investments to reflect local challenges.
“We know we can’t just come in with complete Western agricultural practices as they may not work in India,” Daugherty said to Franchise India. “So our program goes in and does risk analysis and assessment of environmental, social and economic factors. Post that risk assessment, we decide how to engage with farmers, so they can grow better quality products with fewer input costs…”
PepsiCo works with more than 24,000 Indian farmers across 11 states. They provide crops like potatoes and rice for several products including Lay’s potato chips.