THE board of directors of Punjab Agro Juices Ltd accepted Pepsico India’s offer for running a plant in Hoshiarpur for processing kinnows, tomatoes and other horticulture products. A formal agreement to this effect was signed on Wednesday by representatives of Pepsico India and PAJL in the presence of Punjab chief minister Parkash Badal.
The state-of-the-art, 400-MTs-per-day plant has been set up by the Punjab government to provide an alternative market channel to kinnow growers and other farmers cultivating horticultural crops so as to cushion them against fluctuating market prices.
The trial production of the plant, undertaken in May 2007, was successful and the state government, in keeping with the sprit of public-private partnership, has awarded the task to a private sector partner on work basis. Trials have already been carried out with kinnow, mosambi, tomatoes, mangoes, melons and strawberries.
Pepsico has had a long association of partnerships with the Punjab government and the Punjab Agricultural University. PepsiCo/Tropicana and Punjab Government Citrus Council Programme has emerged as one of the most successful models of public-private partnerships in the Indian agri-business.
The Citrus Initiative provides farmers with a choice of 16 varieties of rootstock and 32 varieties of citrus, one of the largest collections in a commercial nursery.
Pepsico assured the chief minister that they would finalise the kinnow procurement plans by the first week of December and start procurement of kinnows across Punjab from the third or fourth week of December. Pepsico will also initiate contract farming arrangement for tomatoes and other crops with the farmers of the state soon.
The produce from this facility would be used by Pepsico in their Tropicana juices and juice drinks and will enable them to expand their customer base.