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AP mango produce goes directly to Coca Cola

Mango farmers in Chittoor district find a way out of travail of handling the middlemen as they sign up to sell their produce directly to Coca Cola India, reports BS Reddy.

business Updated: Jan 27, 2008 22:33 IST
BS Srinivasalu Reddy

Mango farmers in five blocks of Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh have found a way out of travail of handling the middlemen: they have signed up to sell their produce directly to Coca Cola India, which is a bulk consumer of fruit pulp for its mango drink, Maaza.

Thanks to the ongoing retail boom, these kind of supply-chain linkages are likely to be replicated all over the country, to the benefit of the poor farmers.

About 5,000 farmers owning about 95,000 acres (about 38,000 hectares) in the district formed a co-operative society to take a short-cut to secure remunerative prices for their their produce under the aegis of Federation of Farmers Associations (FFA).

“Over 3,000 tonnes of mango was supplied to the Coca Cola in the 12 months since July 2006, when the scheme was operationalised,” said Vijay Kumar, project director, Mango Value Chain Project, implemented under the aegis of FFA.

They have got trained by USAID- (US Agency for International Development) funded GMED (Growth-oriented Microenterprise Development project) in technology and advanced agricultural practices for increasing productivity.

“About 600 farmers underwent a 15-day training in the Lucknow-based Central Institute of Sub-tropical Horticulture, a designated nodal agency for mangoes,” said Vinay Tuli, project manager, GMED, Jaipur. These include those from Thane district of Maharashtra and Nausari district of Gujarat.

GMED experience also helped FFA in establishing linkages with farm suppliers for fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, etc., enabling farmers to access inputs at cheaper rates directly from manufacturers. Price-wise too it proved beneficial to farmers – the top average price of mangoes in the nearby mandis on the day will be paid to the farmers, insuring against fluctuations.

Other advantages include, electronic weighing (saves 60 kg out of a tonne), transportation borne by the company (5-6 per cent of the price), saving in mandi commission (5 per cent), early payment (in 3 days against one month of sale) – amounts to over 15 per cent all put together.

Coca Cola requires 80,000-90,000 tonnes of mango pulp per annum. Of its total requirement, 80 per cent constitutes Totapuri variety produced in Chittoor district, while Alphonso mangoes from Maharashtra constitute the remaining.

The thrust of GMED is to train 100 people in each area, the success of whom will lead to replicate the practices in the nearby areas.