Jallowal , July 29, 2009 - : PepsiCo India announced the success of its innovative methodology of Direct Seeding for Paddy cultivation in Jallowal today. This unique initiative saves about 30% (900 kl/acre) of water in the direct seeded fields and has also helped reduce farmers' cultivation costs by Rs. 1500 per acre.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Susheel Sankhyan General Manager-Agriculture, PepsiCo India, said, Paddy cultivation is known to be 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, introduced this unique technique of paddy cultivation through the direct seeding method. We are delighted to see that the technique has been accepted extremely well by the farmers. In 2008 alone, Indian farmers who are working with PepsiCo on direct seeding have saved close to 1 billion L of water. During 2009 our technology was successfully adopted by an additional 1050 farmers. Given the significant monetary and environmental impact that direct seeding has had on the lives of the Punjab farmers, PepsiCo has now successfully taken this initiative to the states of Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry He further added, We hope to save about 5 billion L of water in 2009 and work effectively towards promoting this technology.
Traditionally, paddy is grown by planting seeds in a small nursery and annually 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. Puddling 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 also has the additional environmental benefit of reducing emission of greenhouse gases like Methane, apart from improving soil porosity which can increase productivity of the succeeding crop. PepsiCo is closely working with Indian Agricultural Research Institute to measure greenhouse gas emissions from direct seeded v/s traditional fields to establish the environmental benefits. PepsiCo is also carrying out trials jointly with International Rice Research Institute to test suitability of different paddy varieties for direct seeding of paddy.
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 was found to be lower by over Rs 1000 per acre. The output in direct seeding was found to be comparable to traditional paddy cultivation. 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 DirectSeeding 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 2007, the land covered under direct seeding was increased to 100 acres. In 2008 PepsiCo covered 1000 acres of land (in Punjab, Rajasthan South India), benefiting more than 450 farmers. During 2009, PepsiCo has carried out direct seeding over 6000 acres benefitting about 1500 farmers.
PepsiCo is one of the world's largest food and beverage companies, with 2008 annual revenues of more than $43 billion. The company employs approximately 198,000 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.
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 41 bottling plants in India, of which 13 are company owned and 28 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.For more information, please visit www.pepsico.com
Mrinall Kanti Dey
General Manager - Corporate Communications