Coca-Cola and Jain Irrigation’s Sustainable Agriculture Initiative, Project Unnati to Reach 50,000 Farmers
Project Unnati, a sustainable agriculture initiative by Coca-Cola and Jain Irrigation, accomplished its first milestone with the announcement of a specialized farmer training program and the establishment of 100 demo farms in the pilot phase to train over 50,000 farmers over five years. The program will use specialized buses with in-built classrooms to provide on-the-go training in Ultra High Density Plantation (UHDP) techniques in mango farming which can help farmers double their mango yields and thus significantly improve their livelihood. The first phase of the project has an investment outlay of more than USD 2 million, shared equally between Coca-Cola and Jain Irrigation.
Anil Jain, Managing Director, Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd, Gen Ved Malik (retd), former – Chief of India Army, T Krishnakumar, CEO, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, launch the ‘Unnati Mobile Classroom’ along with a few farmers from Andhra Pradesh.
The farmer training bus, aptly called the Unnati Mobile Classroom, was flagged off by Gen Ved Malik (retd), former – Chief of India Army, T Krishnakumar, CEO, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, District Collector of Chittoor Shri S. Soloman Arokiaraj and Anil Jain, Managing Director, Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. The Unnati Mobile Classroom, which is a classroom has been designed by Coca- Cola University(that also successfully runs the retailer training program called Parivartan) in collaboration with Jain Irrigation., using their joint expertise to develop special training modules to impart skills and techniques of UHDP to mango farmers under the project.
According to T Krishnakumar, CEO, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, “Project Unnati builds on continuous efforts for sustainable agriculture. With the UHDP technology for mango plantation showcased in over 100 acres in the first phase. We are also excited about the launch of the Unnati Mobile Classroom and believe that this will open doors of opportunity for 50,000 farmers. Given the growing demand for mango worldwide and the packaged juice segment being a high growth category, Project Unnati not only makes good social sense but also makes great business sense for us. We are delighted to partner with Jain Irrigation who is our largest mango pulp supplier to lend their expertise towards the success of this project.”
T. Krishnakumar along with Dr.R.C Datta and some farmers in the Unnati Mobile Bus
Adding further, Anil Jain, Managing Director, Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. said, “Despite India contributing to 55 per cent of the world’s mango production, the productivity at our farms is one of the lowest in the world. Our vision is to take this leadership to the next level with the help of specialized skill training to our mango farmers to increase per acre yield of mangoes on a sustainable basis and bring prosperity to the small and marginal farmers. We are certain the Unnati Mobile Classroom, launched in partnership with the Coca-Cola, will add a new dimension to our partnership with farmers on sustainable and enhanced agricultural practices.”
UHDP is an ingenious farming practice that can help mango orchards attain their full potential in 3-4 years by facilitating cultivation of nearly 600 trees in an acre instead of the conventional method of planting 40 trees in an acre. This technique will double mango yields and increase incomes by improving yield/acre and simultaneously decreasing the quantity of water used in the process.
Launching the Unnati Mobile Classroom, General Ved Malik, former Chief of Indian Army and Chairman, Advisory Council on Environment and Sustainability (ACES), Coca-Cola India, said, “I am pleased that Coca-Cola and Jain Irrigation have come together to bring new technique to the mango farmers directly. This initiative is especially important as the corporate sector is working with farmers directly and both stand to benefit from this collaboration. I hope that the farmers will readily adopt this scientifically better technique and raise their productivity, which will not only help them increase their income but also help deliver more mangoes and mango juice drinks for the consumers”.