PepsiCo Foundation and CARE on Tuesday launched their USD 18.2-million global agriculture-focused women empowerment programme in India beginning with West Bengal.
The programme 'She Feeds the World', currently active in at least five countries, will commence from two districts in North Bengal of West Bengal. Uttar Pradesh could be the next state, officials said.
The PepsiCo Foundation invested USD 18.2 million to scale CARE's 'She Feeds the an World' initiative in six countries, which is projected to impact five million small-scale women producers and their families over six years between 2018 and 2024.
"She Feeds the World' project is a key pillar of our pep+ commitment to spreading regenerative agriculture practices and improving the livelihoods of more than 2,50,000 people in our agricultural supply chain and communities by 2030. We are proud to continue our partnership with CARE and kickstart this global campaign in West Bengal, India. The programme will further empower women farmers across the region with resources and training," Roberto Azevêdo, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer and Chairman of Board of Directors, PepsiCo Foundation, said.
PepsiCo and CARE—a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to empowerment of marginalised women and girls, aims to reach 48,000 women and men to benefit 15 lakh individuals in the state.
Ahmed ElSheikh, President, PepsiCo India, said, "At PepsiCo India, we are focused on bringing farmers into the company's supply chain, recognising them as farmers, and developing them as entrepreneurs. We have been working and engaging with women farmers in West Bengal, who have been active participants and are breaking gender stereotypes."
PepsiCo procures 2 lakh tonnes of potatoes from West Bengal for snacks out of six lakh tonnes across India. About 18,500 farmers in 1,200 villages of the state are with the company's guaranteed purchase agreement.
The company works with 27,000 farmers across 14 states in the country.
West Bengal agriculture minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay said West Bengal has been working towards building social security for farmers. Such joint efforts by industry and communities drive true change and are an effective way of creating much-needed awareness around existing resources and opportunities."
"We have formed a committee that aims at attracting multinationals in the food processing and agro sector," he said.
PepsiCo had been running a similar programme with USAID in the state for the last few years and had already trained 1,500 women in agri techniques and farming.