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PepsiCo India's Gender Inclusion Initiative in Agriculture: Empowering Women for Sustainable Farming

PepsiCo India's gender inclusion initiative in agriculture paving the way for a more inclusive and prosperous agricultural sector.

KJ Staff
PepsiCo India's Gender Inclusion Initiative in Agriculture: Empowering Women for Sustainable Farming
PepsiCo India's Gender Inclusion Initiative in Agriculture: Empowering Women for Sustainable Farming

Recognizing the pivotal role of women in agriculture and acknowledging the challenges they encounter, PepsiCo and USAID together initiated a groundbreaking gender inclusion initiative. Despite the vital contribution of women in agriculture, they often confront obstacles that impede their productivity and hinder their full participation in agricultural development. In response to this pressing issue, PepsiCo India embarked on a journey to promote gender inclusivity in agriculture.

PepsiCo India, a key player in the agricultural sector, is now celebrating the remarkable achievements of its gender inclusion initiative under the banner of 'Investing in Women to Strengthen Supply Chains - A Global Development Alliance (GDA)'. This visionary initiative was launched in 2020 in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). With a commitment of 20 million USD over five years, the partnership encompasses five focus countries, including India.

Empowering Women in Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh holds significant importance as a sourcing region for PepsiCo India, particularly in the production of iconic food and beverage products, with potatoes being a focal point. As part of its commitment to gender inclusion, PepsiCo India and USAID has established 11 Gender-Smart Demo Farms under GDA across strategic districts including Agra, Aligarh, Hathras, Etah, Raebareli, and Fatehpur. These Gender-Smart Farms (GSF) not only demonstrate innovation but have also contributed to PepsiCo India’s potato supply, with a notable increase of 28 tons compared to the baseline, totaling 171 tons in the 2023 crop season.

Training & Development Initiatives by PepsiCo

Under this initiative, a total of 1571 participants (735 women, 836 men) have received training under the 'Empowered Workers Training' program. This comprehensive training covers various aspects including gender norms in agriculture, a package of practices (pre-sowing, disease & pest management, post-harvest management), farm safety, financial literacy, and farm record keeping.

Women farmers are also receiving specialized training aimed at enhancing their agricultural expertise, including the utilization of NDrip gravity micro-irrigation systems, personality development, safe chemical usage, menstrual hygiene, and basic digital literacy skills. Additionally, the introduction of solar-powered wheel-based sprayers offers a more gender-inclusive and sustainable alternative to conventional heavy sprayers.

Supporting Access to Social Security

Collaborating with People's Action for National Integration (PANI), PepsiCo's program has facilitated access to social security for 480 suppliers, family members, and associates. Enrolment in various government schemes such as Micro Irrigation subsidy, Ayushman card, Labour card, Post Matric scholarship, and old-age pension, aims to provide a safety net and improve the overall well-being of beneficiaries.

Impact and Alignment with SDGs

The GDA program not only drives positive change but also aligns with several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including SDG 2 (food security and sustainable agriculture), SDG 5 (gender equality and empowerment of women and girls), SDG 12 (sustainable consumption and production patterns), and SDG 17 (strengthening global partnerships for sustainable development).

Reflecting on the impact of the GDA program, beneficiary Arti Singh, Wife of Omveer Singh (PepsiCo's contract farmer), expressed her gratitude, stating, "The empowering initiatives and training provided under this program have not only enhanced our agricultural practices but have also opened doors for economic empowerment, creating a positive impact on our lives and communities. PepsiCo's commitment to gender inclusion and sustainable agriculture is truly transforming our farming journey."

PepsiCo's Commitment to Positive Agriculture

PepsiCo's focus on empowering farmers, particularly women farmers, is part of ‘Positive Agriculture’, a key pillar under PepsiCo Positive (pep+). This strategic end to end transformation of PepsiCo emphasizes sustainability at its core, aiming to create growth and value by operating within planetary boundaries while inspiring positive change for the planet and people. pep+ revolves around three interconnected pillars: Positive Agriculture, Positive Value Chain, and Positive Choices.

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