The Hindu BusinessLine: May, 2014
Mumbai: Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages and Jain Irrigation plan to invest Rs. 50 crore over 10 years in the second phase of their Unnati project, which helps farmers grow more mango trees.
Started as a joint venture in 2011, the first phase of the project resulted in setting up of 200 demo farms using ultra high density planting (UHDP) in Andhra Pradesh. The project reached out to 4,000 farmers through the Coca-Cola University on Wheels bus. UHDP Technology comes with drip irrigation, on-site training and farm supplement support.
The new farming technique enables farmers to grow nearly 600 trees in an acre against 40 trees in the conventional method.
The innovative technique has been commercialised by Jain Irrigation at its research and development farm at Udumalpet, Tamil Nadu, where it has 100 acres under UHDP. In the second phase, the project intends to cover 50,000 acres by reaching out to 25,000 farmers. The selected farmers will be provided assistance for using this technology during the duration of the project.
“The objective is to harness the higher productivity potential of mango farms to our business, with Jain Irrigation offering farming technique with an option to buy back the fruits,” said Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, in a statement. The scaled up initiative is expected to deliver close to 300,000 tonnes of mango fruit by 2022-23.
Over two-thirds of the Rs. 5,000-crore-a-year Indian juice drinks market consists of mango drinks alone. Juice drinks offer a tremendous business opportunity, if managed on sustainable basis. However, the area under mango cultivation is not growing at the same rate, the statement said.
T Krishnakumar, Chief Executive Officer, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, said that scaling up of the Unnati initiative would result in the creation of an ecosystem that delivers higher growth and income for farmers besides helping streamline supply chain and enhance productivity for Indian brands Maaza and Minute Maid Mango.
Atul Jain, Joint Managing Director, Jain Irrigation Systems, said India is the world’s largest producer of mango pulp with one of the lowest mango yield. The yield has the potential to almost double with the new farming technology.