Chandigarh, Nov 28 (UNI) Punjab Agro Juices Ltd (PAJL) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pepsico for processing kinnows and tomatoes at the Hoshiarpur plant of PAJL.
Mr K J Sharma, Chief Executive Officer PAJL and Mr Abhi Ram Seth, Executive Director, Exports and External Affairs of Pepsico India signed the MOU in the presence of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
While interacting with the representatives of Pepsico, Mr Badal said that this project would prove to be a milestone in bringing a citrus revolution in the state. He said that the government had already embarked upon an ambitious programme to promote citrus cultivation in a big way through a special purpose vehicle created by PAJL.
He said that citrus cultivation would help the farmers to shift from traditional wheat-paddy rotation which was no more remunerative in the present context and it would be a right step towards diversification of agriculture.
The state-of-the-art, 400 MTs per day, capacity plant, has been set up by the Punjab Government to provide available and alternative market channel to the kinnow growers and other farmers cultivating horticultural crops.
The trial production of the plant was undertaken in May which was very successful and the state government in keeping with the spirit of public-private partnership has awarded the task to a private sector partner on job-work-basis. Trials have already been carried out with kinnow, mosambi, tomatoes, mangoes, melons and strawberries.
Pepsico expressed its happiness in partnering with the Punjab Government on yet another project. Pepsico has a long association of partnerships with the Punjab Government and Punjab Agricultural University.
The PepsiCo/Tropicana and Punjab Government Citrus Council Programme has emerged as one of the most successful models of public-private partnerships in 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 at a commercial nursery.
Pepsico assured the Chief Minister that they will finalise the kinnow procurement plans by the first week of December and start procurement of the fruit in the third week. 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 other juice drinks and will enable the company to expand its customer base.