PepsiCo entered India in 1989 and in a short period, has grown into one of the largest MNC food and beverage businesses in the country. PepsiCo’s growth in India has been guided by “Performance with Purpose”. PepsiCo India’s diverse portfolio reflects its commitment to nourish consumers with a diverse range of fun and healthier products.
PepsiCo entered India in 1989 and in a short period, has grown into one of the largest MNC food and beverage businesses in the country. PepsiCo’s growth in India has been guided by “Performance with Purpose”, its goal to deliver top-tier financial performance while creating sustainable growth and shareholder value. One of PepsiCo India’s bottling units is located in the notified industrial area of Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) at Paithan, Aurangabad district, in the western state of Maharashtra. This facility receives its water supply from MIDC.
PepsiCo India engaged an NGO, Alternative Development Initiatives (ADI), for establishing SWRDM (sustainable water resource development and management program). The program combines community interventions for water resource development with livelihood enhancement. The community was the nucleus of this project; a deeply participatory approach was adopted right from the start. PepsiCo reached out to the community to jointly identify potential initiatives, and four key areas were short-listed. Accordingly, an implementation strategy was developed to address these initiatives:
The key objectives of the intervention included the following:
- Mapping land and water resources in the watershed, including land and water use for assessing feasibility of a water replenishment program;
- Assessment of sufficiency of water resources in the watershed;
- Develop a long-term solution, jointly with the community, for sustainability of the watershed and improved access to water by the community.
Water Recharge & Conservation
Based on the comprehensive hydro-geological and topographic survey carried out and dialog with the community, PepsiCo/ADI team constructed 13 check-dams across three rivulets. These rivulets were flowing through the watershed hence ensuring significant water harvesting potential that could recharge the locally depressed aquifer. In addition, efforts were directed towards recharging of a hundred open wells and introduction of micro-irrigation on a pilot basis. Community members were trained on water conservation, maintenance of the water bodies, measurement of rainfall and groundwater.
A series of agro-focused trainings were organized with farmers’ clubs. Capacity building of the farmers was conducted by renowned institutions such as ICRISAT (The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics), KVK (Krishi Vikas Kendra) and WALMI (Water and Land Management Institute). Exposure visits were organized for field training on latest equipment and technology development on different fronts.
Both farm and non-farm skill-based trainings on diverse topics were provided to vulnerable members in the community to help improve their livelihood opportunities so they are less dependent on one annual rain-fed agricultural crop. Alignment between livelihood interventions and related central / state Government and NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) schemes was made. This convergence allowed the community to leverage funds from the above mentioned institutions to further improve their income generation.
Community & Gender Empowerment
PepsiCo India adopted an inclusive approach to engage with the community and seek opportunities for their empowerment through establishment or strengthening of local level institutions. Women in the community were facilitated to form their Self-help Groups (SHGs). These SHGs were encouraged to avail micro-credit. Moreover, assistance was provided to the women SHGs for enrolling in Aam Admi Bima Yojana (Common Man’s Insurance Scheme) and internet mobile banking. Other beneficiaries were supported in the formation of local level institutions including Water Users’ Association (WUA) and Farmers’ Club (FC).
The key partners in this intervention were PepsiCo India and the four beneficiary village communities. PepsiCo India has gained from the knowledge and experience in establishing a model SWRDM program. Thus, an inclusive engagement with the community through regular dialogue, consultation, capacity building and co-ownership has made this model sustainable for the stakeholders involved.
- Community water intervention by PepsiCo India near its Paithan plant has positively impacted water availability in the area with the water levels increasing by about 5 m in the surrounding villages.
- Overall, more than 12000 community members have benefitted since the start of the initiative, and more than 1.7 billion liters of water was recharged in the calendar year 2015, much more than the MIDC water used by Paithan plant in its operations during the same period.
- The community is a proud joint owner and user of the check dams and wells. The Gram Panchayat (local council), along with WUA, has taken up the ownership of the maintenance of the water projects.
- Community members have not only learnt the importance and necessity of water conservation but are also adept at measuring rainfall through rain gauge and therefore well-equipped to take key decisions related to water availability, cropping pattern and irrigation.
- Increased water levels and availability have converted fallow/non-agricultural lands into agricultural land by at least 60%. Sufficiency in water now allows these farmers to additionally grow rabi (winter) crops and orchards have come up as an outcome of trainings on diversification of cropping pattern and have become economically viable. Further, farmers are able to grow organic vegetables on a commercial basis. Together these initiatives have led to an increase in farmer income levels in the program area to the tune of INR 3000-5000/acre/annum.
- The linking of water security, livelihood security and women’s empowerment has reaped significant results. Skill-based trainings to women in Wahegaon village have been found to be both welcome and useful.
The following are the three key lessons learned from our water intervention near Paithan:
- PepsiCo India’s water intervention near Paithan demonstrates that social and environmental impacts due to water scarcity can be highly local in nature and associated with the watershed.
- Water is a shared, finite resource and water interventions sustain best in when planned in partnership with the local stakeholder constituencies around the watershed that are inextricably linked with each other.
- The intervention has been useful in demonstrating the success of a model public private partnership.
- The SWRDM model has been replicated in four other sites in Sangareddy (Telangana), Panipat (Haryana), Nelamangala (Bangalore) and Mamandur (Chennai) in addition to wahegaon contributing to water recharge of 4.4 billion liters in 2015.