PepsiCo to Apply High-Tech Solutions to Ag Water Conservation

PepsiCo to Apply High-Tech Solutions to Ag Water Conservation

In a striking marriage between the oldest and newest technologies, PepsiCo today unveiled plans to roll out a web-based software tool to help farmers manage and reduce their water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The food and beverage giant will bring its "i-crop" farming technology to the world, beginning with Europe in 2011, then to the U.S., India, China, Mexico and Australia by 2012.

I-crop is a cloud computing program developed by PepsiCo with Cambridge University that is currently being tested at 22 farms in the U.K. PepsiCo yesterday announced plans to reduce carbon emissions and water usage by 50 percent across the farming of its core crops in the next five years.

The company is the world's largest purchaser of British potatoes, and also a significant buyer of oats and apples, with a commitment to using 100 percent British produce in some of its product lines, including Walkers Crisps, Quaker Oats and Scott's porridge.

"Farming is in the DNA of our business - we rely on fresh produce every day. Finding ways to produce more food with less environmental impact is essential to our future," Richard Evans, President of PepsiCo U.K. and Ireland, said in a statement. "I-crop has the potential to revolutionize the way we farm, enabling our farmers to save costs and water and carbon consumption, while at the same time improving their yields."

PepsiCo's move comes just a week after Walmart unveiled its own sustainable agriculture commitment, focused on local sourcing and sustainable growing methods.

Photo CC-licensed by Hans S.