Riding on high sales of its snacks brands like Lays and Uncle Chipps, Pepsico has engaged 12,000 farmers across the country for contract farming of potato.

“There are 12,000 farmers doing contract farming of potato for us involving 16,000 acres of land,” Executive Vice-president of Pepsico Holdings (agro-business) Nischint Bhatia told PTI.

He said that out of the 12,000 farmers, 6,500 of them are in West Bengal working 2,600 acres.

Bhatia said Pepsico’s contract farming had picked up very fast, adding that the company had procured 22,000 tonnes of potato in the last harvesting season.

He said that with the growing sales of its snacks brands, the company would adopt for more in the country for contract farming.

At present, Pepsico is involved in the contract farming for potato only.

Bhatia said that farmers were ensured a captive off take even in periods of glut and also a remunerative price.

He said Pepsico was buying potatoes at Rs. 6 per kilo from the farmers, which was higher than what others were getting by selling the crop to the intermediaries.

Asked whether the company would enter into contract farming for other crops, Bhatia said that the company was planning to follow a similar line for oats.

He said oats were presently being imported for its Quaker Oats brand and the company was in talks with various agricultural universities for cultivating it in the country.

“It is still in the research stage and may take three to four year’s time,” Bhatia said.

He said oatmeal was becoming a popular breakfast cereal in India due to health reasons.

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