Satish Kumar is a mango farmer from a small village in Southern India. Like every parent, he dreamt big for his sons and believed education would change their lives. But he realised in good time that this may not be possible with traditional farming.
While India is the world’s largest producer of mangoes, it’s also among the least efficient in farm productivity rates. Indian farmers have been cultivating crops with traditional and outdated techniques and technology. And while the country is on a rapid path to progress in the digital age, the farmers are hardly a part of the modern revolution.
There is an acute need for the modern farmer to be educated about the latest irrigation techniques, agricultural practices and other basic information like rainfall forecasts.
Understanding this very need, Cola-Cola India, whose flagship mango drink Maaza has been a market leader for the last 40 years, launched a large-scale community movement called ‘Unnati.’ The project, which was launched in partnership with Jain Irrigation, aimed to train farmers in Ultra High Density Plantation (UHDP) to help them improve the yield per acre for mango farms.
During phase I of Project Unnati, which was launched in 2011, the companies worked towards highlighting the need of UHDP technology and in assisting early adoption of the practice. The project has established 200 demo farms. Through interventions such as the ‘Coca-Cola University on Wheels’ bus, the project has trained nearly 18000 farmers till date. In phase II, the initiative will identify nearly 25,000 farmers, holding an area of 25,000 acres and support them in adopting the UHDP technology over a period of 10 years.
The ‘Unnati’ movement aims to benefit more such farmers like Kumar by expanding the reach of UHDP throughout India while creating an end-to-end fruit supply chain to optimise delivery.