Earlier in the week prior to the EthipPEA announcement, PepsiCo announced it will work with the Chinese government to “help Chinese farmers learn the latest techniques in agriculture,” reported the Associated Press. This arrangement was finalized with the signing of a memo with China’s Ministry of Agriculture.
The Chinese project will take the form of building “demonstration farms” to test and showcase the newest “techniques in irrigation, fertilization and crop management.” One of the goals is to improve the Chinese farmers’ standard of living.
PepsiCo noted it had already assisted Chinese potato farmers to reduce the amount of water used while also increasing yields. With past and present investment, PepsiCo reported it will have invested $3.5 billion from the beginning of 2008 through the new demonstration farms project.
In mid-summer, PepsiCo announced it was rolling out its new i-crop farming technology Web-based tool developed in conjunction with Cambridge University, for first use in the United Kingdom and Europe. Successful implementation will eventually result in the program being part of the Chinese demonstration farms plus become part of PepsiCo’s involvement in agricultural production in Australia, India and Mexico. There also have been rumors fanned by PepsiCo executives about U.S. projects.
The i-crop was described as “a crop management system that will enable PepsiCo’s farmers around the world to monitor, manage and reduce their water use and carbon emissions, while also maximizing potential yield and quality.”
It was reported with the announcement of i-crop that the company had developed 15 global goals and commitments to guide its goals of protecting the earth’s natural resources “through innovation and more efficient use of land, energy, water and packaging.”
PepsiCo executive’s express the reason for PepsiCo’s involvement in showing farmers how to grow crops in statements similar to that attributed to Richard Evans, president of PepsiCo U.K. and Ireland. “Farming is in the DNA of our business. We rely on fresh produce every day. Finding ways to produce more food with less environmental impact is essential to our future.”
A PepsiCo executive is scheduled to address the Agricultural Retailers Association annual conference November 30.