PepsiCo India, through its brand ‘Lay’s’, has announced a crop and plot-level predictive intelligence model.

A media statement said this is aimed at helping farmers maximise potato yields coupled with quality via functional dashboards on user-friendly mobile apps.

Launched in collaboration with Cropin, an agri-tech company, this initiative is a part of PepsiCo’s ‘precision agriculture’ model for India and is being implemented as a pilot project in demo farms at Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

It said that potato yield losses caused through the blight crop disease can go up to 80 per cent, if not forecasted early. Significant yield loss caused due to ground frost is another serious issue for potato farmers especially in the northern parts of the country.

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This initiative of PepsiCo has the potential to address these challenges by using satellite imagery correlated with remote sensing data to provide insights. The system can generate a forecast up to 10 days in advance which can assist farmers in identifying different crop stages, and close monitoring of crop health, including a disease warning system that relies on weather forecasts and historical data.

PepsiCo works directly and indirectly with over 27,000 farmers across 14 States, it said, adding, 100 per cent of the potatoes for ‘Lay’s’ brand are sourced from farmers within the country. In its pilot stage, the necessary training and hand-holding to the farmers are being provided through field agronomists who are helping them understand the dashboard and leverage the insights. Currently, the model covers 62 farms — 51 in Gujarat and 11 in Madhya Pradesh — as a trial.

Empowering small growers

Quoting Anukool Joshi, Director (Agro) at PepsiCo India, the statement said: “Being an agri company at heart, we aim to bring in sustainable, resilient, and inclusive solutions that would address the diverse issues of farmers and help them improve their livelihoods. Through our partnership with Cropin on this new initiative, our goal is to eventually roll-out this solution to PepsiCo farmers across India and empower them with real-time tracking of crop health to maximise yield and quality.”

Krishna Kumar, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cropin, said PepsiCo through its brand Lay’s has been leading the way to enable agriculture modernisation and its impact at the grassroots level. “While their focus on digital transformation directly aids business growth, it also accelerates small-holder farmer empowerment, drives sustainability, and sets new standards in global farming. Using Cropin’s proven plot-level predictive intelligence solution, PepsiCo is mitigating business risks and forecast crop yield and health, water stress, pest and disease early warning signals for efficient business management,” he said.

The dashboards and related information would be accessed by the farmers through smartphone-based apps, namely ‘Cropin Grow’ for farm data management and ‘Plot Risk’ for crop intelligence. The apps can support multiple languages, and PepsiCo plans to offer the solutions in 14 regional languages, it said.