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The pioneering idea that could empower farmers in India’s horticulture

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 30 August 2017, 16:30 IST

Coca-Cola’s revolutionary initiative is helping drive India’s fruit circular economy. As horticultural production consistently outpaces India’s food grain production, agricultural practitioners are increasingly realising its importance.

Produce from the farms is bought by companies like Coca-Cola, processed in hygienic and state-of-the-art facilities and then offered to consumers as various choices. In 2014, a study found that nearly 18 per cent of India’s fruits and vegetables, worth INR 13,300 crore, are wasted annually. If this farm produce could be processed, the money could be going back to the agricultural ecosystem.

The output of India’s fruits and vegetable has now been higher than food grains for five consecutive years. Farmers realise the importance of horticulture produce since they are able to realise cash for their produce sooner than they can get for food grains. Sometimes, the price realisation is far better compared to what the farmer can earn for food grain produce.

Totapuri mangoes, for example, are used in preparation of the pulp and juice for Maaza, India’s most-loved mango juice drink. Over the last 10 years, thanks to the increased demand, the prices of mangoes have seen a fourfold jump. Food grain prices, in comparison, may have seasonally gone up but have not witnessed a secular uptrend.

The introduction of Ultra High Density Production (UHDP) technique, pioneered in India by Coca-Cola and its partners, has helped double production of mangoes from the same acreage. Several Coca-Cola products now have added fruit juice, which is adding to the 200,000 tons of fruits that the company purchases annually.

According to a report by AT Kearney in 2011, only about two per cent of India’s fruits and vegetables were processed against 35 per cent of food grain and pulses. New farming techniques can help industry with the steady supply of fruits that can be converted into packaged drinking and other products for consumers.

Good agricultural practices can help farmers adopt the methods to grow more cash crops. India’s agricultural institutions will have to reinvent themselves to help farmers align themselves with the needs of the industry. For farmers that could be ready buyer, for industry it could mean assured supplies, and for consumers it could mean more natural ingredients in their favourite beverages.

For the fruits that it purchases in India, Coca-Cola also exports it to 44 countries under 10 categories. That is another opportunity that can open up for farmers, if their produce can meet international quality standards.

Disclaimer: The information has been sourced from Coca-Cola Journey digital magazine. To Read more, please visit - http://www.coca-colaindia.com/

First published: 30 August 2017, 16:30 IST