Project Unnati : Coca-cola & Indian Mango Growth3 min read

Kaixin Zhang

Mango is main ingredient in Coca-Cola, and like other ingredients, mainly sourced from India. Due to the poor utilization of crop output, farmers faced several challenges like low income and inability to adopt modern methods of cultivation. Having identified the core issues that farmers have been facing, Coca-Cola led the ‘Ultra High Density Plantation’ or UHDP initiative which was aimed at boosting mango cultivation by doubling the mango yields per hectare. In order to help the mango farmers to boost yield, Coca-Cola India teamed up with Jain Irrigation for ‘Project Unnati’.

Coca-Cola’s “Project Unnati” saw productivity double and a significant rise in output and farm income. Unnati was aimed at a large-scale adoption of Ultra High Density Plantation (UHDP) in the country and aims to scale up the project to cover end-to-end fruit supply chain and further optimize delivery. The project has been focused on creating an ecosystem that delivers higher growth and better incomes for farmers, and developing the ‘Grove to Glass’ fruit supply chain, for optimize delivery.

In the Project Unnati, around 3300 farmers have been trained and 95 modern demonstration farms have been established in farmers’ fields. Under UHDP cultivation, the mango tree is supported with a trellis system to help it grow as a creeper. Then, to save water, drip irrigation is promoted.

Trellised Mango Tress

During the research for the project, it was found that in the pre-UHDP farming model, mango trees were planted at a larger distance from each other, because it was believed to ensure the availability of adequate sunlight, soil nutrients and water for the trees’ growth. However, under the guidance of UHDP experts, more trees were planted in the same area, because in fact, trees tend to produce fruit faster when they sense a lack of resources for survival. In the closer planting system, the time taken to bear fruit was considerably reduced. The closer planting not only sped up the cycle of bearing fruits, but also led to a richer yield.

In the coming years, the initiative hopes to bring about a transformation in the value chain in a way that better meets the needs of consumers. The fruit circular economy will expand fruit procurement from India to meet the global system’s needs in the coming years. Farms under Project Unnati will continue to showcase and train farmers on Ultra High Density Plantation under a joint capability building program. 

References

Belz, F. M., & Peattie, K. (2009). Sustainability marketing. Glasgow, Hoboken: Wiley & Sons.

C&C Group plc, & Footprint Intelligence. (2020). Drinks Industry Sustainability Index – Trends Report 2020. Retrieved June 23, 2020, from https://candcgroupplc.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/CC.FootprintDrinksReport.2020.pdf.