Barnala, July 17, 2012: PepsiCo India today announced that the area under the water saving, Direct Seeding methodology of rice cultivation has crossed the 10,000 acre mark this year. Crossing this high acreages mark also translates into a 20-fold increase in area under DSR as compared to 2008 acreage. At the event, PepsiCo felicitated farmers for their achievements and continued efforts towards water saving.
PepsiCo India has been leading this pioneering initiative in Punjab to replace transplanting of paddy with direct seeding methodology; which has helped reduce water consumption in paddy cultivation by 30-percent and has also cut down green house gas emissions by 75-percent, while keeping the yields and quality at par. The results have been vetted by leading research institutes like the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).
The technique not only helps save water but results in reduction of cultivation costs of Rs. 1,500 per acre and 50% labour. PepsiCo also supports the farmers who adopt this methodology with free access to direct seeding machines, technical support and extension services.
Commenting on this initiative, Jaideep Bhatia, Vice-President – Agronomy, PepsiCo India, said, “The real champions responsible for the successful implementation of the DSR initiative are our farmer friends. Their consistent efforts and dedication have brought about the many-fold success that we are witnessing today. Hence we are here today to celebrate with them and honour them for their efforts. At PepsiCo, we hope to continue our endeavour of being a farmer’s friend and help transform the practice of agriculture in the country.”
In India over 80% of water is consumed in agriculture and of this about 50% is used in cultivation of paddy alone. India’s water efficiency in paddy cultivation is as low as at 4 KL / Kg as compared to the International average of 3 KL / Kg. Punjab is a water scarce state and water table is constantly going down in the state. Paddy which is a major crop in the state consumes more than 50% of water consumed in agriculture. 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 the growth of weeds. This “flood irrigation” method results in 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: a success story
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 1,000 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.
In 2006, PepsiCo India developed a Direct 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 an herbicide helped reduce de-weeding labour from five times to two times in direct seeding compared to flood irrigation. In 2007, the land covered under direct seeding was 150 acres and was increased to 500 acres in 2008 in Punjab. 2012 now marks a 20 fold increase to 10,500 acres in Punjab only. Presently, the company has brought over 13,000 acres of land under direct seeding in India.
About PepsiCo India:
PepsiCo entered India in 1989 and has grown to become one of the largest food and beverage businesses in India. With an investment of over $1 billion, PepsiCo India has built an expansive beverage and snack food business supported by 38 beverage bottling plants and 3 food plants. PepsiCo India’s extensive portfolio includes iconic brands like Pepsi, Lay’s, Kurkure, Tropicana 100%, Gatorade, Quaker, and fast growing brands i.e. Nimbooz and Aliva.
PepsiCo India is driven by its global commitment to sustainable growth, Performance with Purpose, which works on four planks of replenishing water, partnering with farmers, waste to wealth and healthy kids. In 2009, PepsiCo India achieved a significant milestone, by becoming the first business to achieve ‘Positive Water Balance’ in the beverage world, a fact verified by Deloitte Touché Tohmatsu India Pvt. Ltd. The company has been Water Positive since then. For more information, please visit www.pepsicoindia.co.in
For further details, please contact:
Prajakta Bhosale / Tanvi Arora
Nitin Yadav Genesis Burson-Marsteller
PepsiCo India Mob: +91 9899043917 / +91 9999046170
Mob: +91 9811278920 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org /