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Home » Media » Press Releases » PepsiCo India announces the success of its water conservation initiative in Punjab

PepsiCo India announces the success of its water conservation initiative in Punjab

  • Direct Seeding – Paddy cultivation has reduced water consumption by 30% in the region
  • Benefiting more than 100 farmers through the initiative
  • Plans to cover 1000 acres of land under Direct Seeding this year

Jallowal, 24 June, 2008: PepsiCo India today announced the success of its innovative methodology of Direct Seeding for Paddy cultivation in Jallowal. Through this unique initiative, PepsiCo India has saved 30% (900 kl/acre) of water in the region and has also reduced the production cost by Rs.1,250/- to Rs. 1,450/- compared to traditional paddy cultivation. The Direct Seeding method has not only reduced water consumption in the region but has also helped farmers to refine their farming techniques and raise their farm productivity through the innovation.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sushil Sankhiyan General Manager-Agriculture, PepsiCo India, said, "Paddy cultivation is known to be very water intensive. Over a period of time, this has resulted in a decline of the water table in Punjab. PepsiCo India, as a part of its effort to improve sustainability in Indian agriculture and to reduce water consumption, has introduced this unique technique of paddy cultivation through Direct Seeding. We are delighted to see that the technique has been accepted extremely well by the farmers." He further added, "In 2008, PepsiCo India aims to implement the methodology to over 1000 acres of land nationally reaching out to about 600 farmers."

Traditionally, paddy is grown by planting seeds in a small nursery and manually transplanting the paddy saplings after about four weeks to the main cultivation area. The saplings are then allowed to grow and the fields are kept under about 3 to 4 inches of water, mainly to reduce growing of weeds. This 'puddle irrigation' requires high consumption of water. However, the 'Direct Seeding' methodology, that sows the seeds directly in the fields, has shown a substantial reduction in water consumption and also in the production cost.

Direct Seeding Methodology: Trials by PepsiCo

PepsiCo India carried out trials in their own R&D farms in Jallowal in 2004 using direct manual seeding of paddy rather than transplantation of paddy saplings.

In 2005, PepsiCo India carried out trials with more paddy varieties. The irrigation frequency for direct seeding was reconfirmed to be lower by about 30% and the production costs decreased by over Rs 1000 per acre. The output in direct seeding was found to be marginally higher due to better seeding density. Local farmers, who visited PepsiCo's R&D farm where the trials were held, were shown the crops before harvesting and the advantages of direct seeding was shared with them. During 2006 PepsiCo India developed a Seeding Machine for paddy which can sow the seeds uniformly at a specified gap and at a uniform depth. Using this seeder, direct seeding was carried out in the fields of 12 farmers, covering about 20 acres. In these trials, PepsiCo also studied the advantage of sowing the seeds, followed by herbicide treatment and thereafter irrigation. Pre-treatment with a herbicide helped reduce de-weeding labour from five times to two times in direct seeding compared to puddle irrigation. In 2007, the land covered under direct seeding was increased to 100 acres. For 2008 PepsiCo plans to cover 600 acres of land (in Punjab & Rajasthan), benefiting more than 400 farmers.

About PepsiCo India

PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) is one of the world's largest food and beverage company, with 2007 annual revenues of more than $39 billion. The Company employs approximately 185,000 people worldwide, and its products are sold in approximately 200 countries. Its principal businesses include: Frito-Lay snacks, Pepsi-Cola beverages, Gatorade sports drinks, Tropicana juices and Quaker foods. The PepsiCo portfolio includes 17 brands that generate $1 billion or more each in annual retail sales.

PepsiCo entered India in 1989 and has grown to become the country's largest selling food and beverage company. One of the largest multinational investors in the country, PepsiCo has established a business which aims to serve the long term dynamic needs of consumers in India. The group has built an expansive beverage, snack food and exports business and to support the operations are the group's 37 bottling plants in India, of which 16 are company owned and 21 are franchisee owned. In addition to this, PepsiCo's Frito Lay snack division has 3 state of the art plants. PepsiCo's business is based on its sustainability vision of making tomorrow better than today. PepsiCo India's commitment to living by this vision every day is visible in its contribution to the country, consumers, farmers and people.