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PepsiCo's agricultural productivity boost in Thailand

Pepsi-Cola (Thai) Trading Co (PepsiCo), has implemented measures to enhance agricultural productivity among its 5,800 contract farmers in Thailand, with the objective of increasing their revenue by 15% for 35% of these farmers by 2030. Sudipto Mozumdar, General Manager of Indochina Foods and Chief Commercial Officer for Asia-Pacific, pointed out the challenges of climate change and rising fertiliser prices due to inflation. "We use artificial intelligence to analyse data collected by drones that scout farms, check plantation areas, detect pests and evaluate plant diseases, which can help farmers promptly prevent or solve agricultural problems," Mozumdar stated.

Surivassa Sattarujawong, the company's corporate affairs director for Thailand and Vietnam, noted that drones allow for more efficient monitoring of large areas, thereby reducing the need for manual labor. Through the use of digital tools, infrared technology for soil health, and drip irrigation systems, potato yields have significantly increased.

The collaboration with contract farmers has led to an annual production of approximately 100,000 tons of potatoes, contributing to a combined revenue of 1.5 billion baht. This year, PepsiCo harvested 72,400 tons of potatoes and expects to reach 94,000 tons by year-end, covering more than 70% of the total potatoes used for chip production. The potato chips market in Thailand was valued at 14 billion baht in 2023, according to NielsenIQ.

Mozumdar highlighted the need for government support in areas such as land bank consolidation, provision of incentives, loans, and funds for experimenting with new agricultural methods, and infrastructure improvements to facilitate potato transportation. "The Agricultural Ministry should consolidate land banks into larger sizes to maximize the use of agricultural technology," he suggested. PepsiCo's efforts underscore its commitment to sustainable farming practices and economic growth in the region.


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