Coca-Cola and Jain Irrigation to invest Rs 50 crore in Project Unnati Phase 2
Hindustan Coca–Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. (HCCBPL) and Jain Irrigation today announced plans to scale up their joint initiative Project Unnati with investments amounting to Rs 50 crore over a period of 10 years.
After achieving the desired results in Phase 1,HCCBPL made the announcement of scaling the initiative fivefold reaching 25000 farmers in Phase 2 at an investment of Rs 50 crore over next 10 years. The MOU was signed today by Mr. T. Krishnakumar, Chief Executive Officer, Hindustan Coca–Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd and Mr. Anil Jain, Managing Director, Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd.
Speaking about the project, T. Krishnakumar, Chief Executive Officer, HCCBPL, said "Scaling up of the initiative in close association with farmers and Jain Irrigation will result in the correlation 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."
According to Jain, Managing Director, Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd.said "India is the largest producer of mango pulp in the world, with one of the lowest mango yield. Ultra High Density offers 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 optimize delivery.
The Project, in its second phase will identify nearly– 25,000 farmers, holding an area of 50,000 acrorees and support them in adopting the Ultra High Density Plantation technology. The selected farmers will be provided assistance for using this technology during the duration of the project. While Unnati Phase 1 has successfully trained farmers on UHDP Technology and encouraged them to adapt to the new technology, Unnati Phase 2 is built around building deeper relationship and engagements with farmers. The objective is to harness the higher productivity potential of mango farms to our business by Jain Irrigation offering all UHDP implementing farmers an option of buying back the fruits cultivated. The scaled up initiative is expected to deliver close to 300KMT fruit by the year 2022–23.
Over two–thirds of the 5,000–crore–a–year Indian juice drinks market consists of mango drinks alone. Juice drinks offer a tremendous business opportunity, if managed on a long–term, sustainable basis. However, the area under mango cultivation is not growing at the same rate. The agricultural practices under Project Unnati offer the basis to improve mango productivity and hence, enhance supply of mango pulp for the industry. Continuous interaction with farmers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) with support on farm supplements and subsidy shall motivate farmers to be engaged with this project over a long duration. Additionally, Project Unnati will also develop Farmer Loyalty programs which will continue to encourage farmer’s support to this program.
During phase 1 of Project ’Unnati’, which was launched in 2011 with an investment of $2 million, partners worked towards highlighting the need of UHDP technology and in assisting early adoption of the practice. The project has established 200 demo farms. Through interventions such as "Coca–Cola University on Wheels" Bus and active outreach, nearly 4000 farmers till date have been covered. UHDP Technology embedded with drip irrigation, on–site training and farm supplement support have been successfully implemented by several farmers, which has led to first harvest of mangoes this year.
Ultra High Density Plantation (UHDP) technique enables plantation of nearly 600 trees in an acroree, instead of the conventional method of planting 40 trees, thereby incroreeasing yield and improving the livelihood of the farmers.
In traditional mango cultivation, trees are allowed to grow as high as possible; they are pruned minimally or not at all. In UHDP, canopy is maintained in such a way as to attain maximum light interception and canopy volume per unit area in early years of plantation. This leads to the orchard attaining full potential in 3–4 years.
The gestation period in UHDP is less and the farmer starts earning money in the early years as UHDP orchards start commercial bearing from the 3rd year onwards against the 7 to 9 years required in traditional planting. This innovative technique has been standardized and commercialized by Jain Irrigation at its R&D farm at Udmalpet, Tamil Nadu where currently 100 acrorees is under Ultra–High Density Plantation.