It was a nice feeling for me to read earlier today an article by Sanjeev Chada, the CEO of PepsiCo India, on how Pepsi is using its deep knowledge in areas like nutrition science and irrigation techniques to strengthen the links between agriculture, environment and nutrition. In India the company has worked with farmers to automate direct seeding of rice, a paddy field watering technique that results in much better water utilization, and more. In China, the compand worked with local potato farmers to develop thriving crops in the middle of the desert in Inner Mongolia.
Specifically, the company appears to be focussing its efforts on water saving irrigation and crop-rotation methods. The company reports that as a result of these practices, production per hectare has gone up to 39 T (per year??) in China as against the earlier 18 T. That’s a over 100% increase. Creditable indeed.
I guess it is easy and fashionable to bash the large companies (and I must submit that I take pleasure in doing that myself!), but the truth is, these companies have incredible expertise both scientific and management. With some small tweaks, goliaths could indeed be working with Davids instead of against them as the world sometimes perceives.