Following successful Unnati interventions in Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, Coca-Cola India today launched Unnati Litchi in Bihar together with DeHaat, National Research Centre on Litchi (NRCL), and Kedia Fresh. The initiative is aimed at enhancing efficiency of the Agri value chain and farmers’ capability building on high-density plantation, farmer training for Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) and creation of demo orchards through appropriate technology interventions.
The initial phase of this initiative has been launched across Muzaffarpur, Samastipur and Vaishali districts of Bihar which are the major hubs for Litchi cultivation in the state. Encompassing the entire value chain from grove to glass, Unnati Litchi aims at educating and training 80,000+ farmers in revitalizing the existing orchards, rejuvenating old and senile farms spanning over 3000 acres, and introducing modern techniques like high density plantation to double Litchi productivity.
The project announcement was made in the presence of Shri Prem Kumar – Minister of Agriculture, Bihar, Shashank Kumar – Founder & CEO, DeHaat; Dr. Sanjay Kumar Singh, Principal Scientist, NRCL; R.K. Kedia – Chairman, Kedia Fresh; Asim Parekh – Vice President, Fruit Circular Economy, Coca-Cola India; and Ishteyaque Amjad – Vice-President, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability, Coca-Cola India & South West Asia.
Shashank Kumar, Co-Founder and CEO of DeHaat said, “Litchi is a heritage crop of Bihar and our farmers have been experiencing the declining productivity of crop on a yearly basis. Being a high value crop for farmers, Litchi has a major role for the livelihood of farmers. We aim to mobilize and train the farmer community to transition from conventional methods to modern agriculture practices by providing them end-to-end support, training, and associated cultivation techniques. We’re confident that Coca-Cola’s involvement in the project will bring in the necessary scale and excellent oversight.”
Coca-Cola India will work closely with the project implementation partner DeHaat (Green Agrevolution Pvt. Ltd.), towards increasing the productivity of Shahi and China, the Litchi varieties known for their unique strengths. Kedia Fresh will bring in the expertise towards creating a state-of-the-art demonstration orchard in Muzaffarpur and lead technology partner, National Research Centre for Litchi, Muzaffarpur (NRCL), will develop complete Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Litchi cultivation and ensure their implementation during the project timeframe.
Ishteyaque Amjad – Vice President, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia said, “We are committed to promoting Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) across various fruits in the country. Litchi is the biggest fruit cultivation in Bihar and employs a large part of the state’s population. We’ll continue to create demand for locally grown fruits through our fruit-based beverages and progressively invest in the agri-ecosystem of the country, and working directly with the farmers through Unnati projects, we will continue to help farmers improve their incomes and living standards.”
Asim Parekh – Vice President, Fruit Circular Economy, Coca-Cola India said, “India is the second largest producer of Litchi in the world. The States of Bihar and West Bengal, together account for 50% of the Litchi cultivation in India. Bihar is the largest producer of Litchi. In addition to the conventional practice of Litchi cultivation, adoption of modern technologies and GAP can enhance the productivity of Litchi in Bihar by 2X. Unnati Litchi in Bihar is a humble yet a significant step in that direction.”
The increased productivity through Unnati Litchi is expected to accelerate local procurement of the fruit that will aid the horticulture ecosystem in the state. The project will also facilitate farmers’ access to enabling infrastructure including high-yielding planting material together with modern Package of Practises (POP), which would make Litchi cultivation lucrative.Coca-Cola India and its partners are on track to create virtuous value chains in horticulture by infusing over USD 1.7 Billion to develop Fruit Circular Economy in India. Subsequently, after the rollout of Project Unnati Litchi in Bihar, states like West Bengal and Odisha would be considered in the next phase.
About the Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands and nearly 3,900 beverage choices. Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world’s most valuable and recognizable brands, our company’s portfolio features 21 billion-dollar brands, 19 of which are available in reduced-, low- or no-calorie options.
These brands include Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Dasani, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Del Valle, Georgia and Gold Peak. Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, we are the No. 1 provider of both sparkling and still beverages.
More than 1.9 billion servings of our beverages are enjoyed by consumers in more than 200 countries each day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world’s top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates.
DeHaat™ is one of the fastest growing start-ups in Agri Tech sector and one of the very few companies providing end-to-end solutions and services to the farming community in India. We are building AI-enabled technologies to revolutionize supply chain and production efficiency in farm sector. Currently we are operating in eastern India – Bihar, UP and Odisha – with 165,000 farmers in our service network and our goal is to bring our services to 5 million farmers by 2024.
Founded by the alumni from IIT Delhi, IIT Kharagpur, IIM Ahmedabad and other top institutes – DeHaat is now a fully funded start-up with growth rate of 3-4x annually. The impact we have created at grass root level over last 8 years of our operations has been phenomenal, as recognized and felicitated by NASSCOM, Forbes, ET, Niti Aayog and Bill Gates Foundation.
About National Research Centre for Litchi (NRCL)
The NRCL is premier national institute for conducting research and developments on litchi and provide leadership at national level. It also acts as a national repository of information on litchi production, processing, value addition, and provides consultancy services to end users. The ICAR-National Research Centre on Litchi was established on 6th June, 2001 by Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India under the aegis of Indian Council of Agricultural Research to act as a nodal institution for research and development on litchi in India in a mission mode approach. The Centre started functioning from 2002 with budgetary allocation and the first batch of two scientists joining the Centre in March, 2002. The lease deed was signed on 25th June, 2002 between the ICAR and Government of Bihar to transfer 100 acres of land to the Centre at Mushahri. The Centre was strengthened during 2005 and onwards by redeploying scientific, technical and supporting staff along with administrative support and financial assistance for developing infrastructural facilities and to carry out the research work.
Currently, the Centre has 14 scientific, 3 technical, 8 administrative and 3 supporting staff against the sanctioned strength of 15 scientific, 14 technical, 12 administrative and 10 supporting staff. The sanctioned scientific position represent the various disciplines of Horticulture, Plant Breeding, Genetics, Soil Science, Biotechnology, Physiology, Pathology, Entomology, Economics, Extension and Computer Applications.