Coca-Cola, Jain Irrigation to scale up mango farming project

Global beverages giant Coca Cola's bottling arm in India and Jain Irrigation have inked a pact to scale up their initiative for mango production, targeting involvement of 25,000 farmers and entailing an investment of Rs 50 crore over 10 years.

Under the second phase of 'Project Unnati', Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd (HCCBPL) and Jain Irrigation will identify nearly 25,000 farmers, holding 50,000 acres and support them in adopting the Ultra High Density Plantation (UHDP) technology in mango farms.

The first phase of the project was launched in 2011 with an investment of USD 2 million and has covered nearly 4,000 farmers till date, the companies said in a joint statement.

HCCBPL CEO T Krishnakumar said: "Scaling up of the initiative will result in the creation of an ecosystem that delivers higher growth and income for farmers and helps us streamline supply chain and enhance productivity for our Indian brands Maaza and Minute Maid Mango".

The scale of this project enables to confidently continue to deliver the refreshing beverages to consumers at affordable price points, he added.

Jain Irrigation Systems Managing Director Anil Jain said UHDP is a proven technology, commonly practiced for mango cultivation worldwide and combined with other sustainable agricultural techniques has the potential to yield upward of 200 per cent more produce than the traditional method.

"Over the next 10 years, we aim to scale up the project to cover end-to-end fruit supply chain and further optimise delivery," he added.

The 25,000 farmers will be provided assistance to use UHDP technology during the duration of the project, he added.

"The objective is to harness the higher productivity potential of mango farms to our business by Jain Irrigation offering all UHDP implementing farmers and an option of buying back the fruits cultivated," Jain said.

The scaled up initiative is expected to deliver close to 300 KMT fruit by the year 2022-23, he added.

HCCBPL is the largest bottling partner of The Coca-Cola Company in India and is part of the Atlanta-based firm's Bottling Investment Group.

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