Updated: Aug 29
In a ground breaking agricultural venture, PepsiCo Vietnam recently concluded its first-ever potatoes in Gia Lai province, and the results surpassed all expectations. The successful cultivation of potatoes in this region marks a significant milestone for both PepsiCo and the local farming community.
From Potato Processing Demand to Sustainable Agriculture Program.
In Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen Duc Huy, the CEO of PepsiCo Foods Vietnam, revealed that before 2008, the potato supply for the Poca snack production plant mainly relied on imports, as there were no domestically cultivated areas for industrial potato processing. Most farmers grew potatoes for direct consumption. Mr. Huy stated, "The potatoes used for processing must have low sugar content, high firmness, uniform shape, and dried eyes, especially fresh potatoes that haven't undergone extended transportation time. Only then can we produce crispy and visually appealing snacks."
Driven by the essential need of the business, in 2008, PepsiCo Foods Vietnam formulated a plan to develop domestic raw material areas, aiming to increase the proportion of local sourcing and reduce imports. The proposed strategy involved seeking regions with suitable climate conditions and encouraging local farmers to participate in raw material production, resulting in long-term benefits for both parties.
The first potatoes crop in Gia Lai province took place in early March 2021.
In March 2021, farmers in the Chu Se and Dak Doa districts carried out the first harvest of 36 hectares of potatoes in a collaborative project under the "companion partnership" with PepsiCo Vietnam's food company (PepsiCo Foods). This marked the company's third potato raw material area in the Central Highlands, following those in Dak Lak and Lam Dong provinces.
As reported by the farmers and PepsiCo Foods engineers, the average potatoes yield in Gia Lai province ranged from 24 to 32 tons per hectare, surpassing the expected yield of 20 to 25 tons at the beginning of the trial. The quality of the potatoes was also excellent, meeting requirements regarding size, water content, and minimal waste. Notably, achieving a yield of over 20 tons per hectare typically takes ten years of cultivation, development, and optimization in the Bao Loc area of Lam Dong province. However, in Gia Lai, the residents and PepsiCo Foods achieved this remarkable result right from the first season.
Explaining this breakthrough, a representative from PepsiCo Foods stated that the districts in Gia Lai province are situated at elevations ranging from 500 to 900 meters above sea level, with favorable soil and climate conditions. The extensive cultivation area and intercropping in this region facilitate mechanization processes.
Additionally, as part of their collaboration with the farmers, PepsiCo Foods provided the best potato varieties, FL 2215 and FL 2027, which the company invested in researching. They also worked with suppliers of agricultural inputs to ensure a quality supply. Moreover, they deployed a team of engineers to closely support the farmers, transferring knowledge and cultivation experiences and assisting in the use of technical machinery during the potato care process.
Sustainability in agriculture is a top priority.
The collaboration and understanding between PepsiCo Vietnam and its partners play a crucial role in promoting sustainable potato production and increasing the utilization of domestic potatoes in food processing activities. The country's potato products not only meet domestic standards but also international ones.
Through their partnership with PepsiCo Foods, the company commits to purchasing all the farmers' produce and closely monitoring them throughout the entire production process. As a result, farmers can cultivate with peace of mind, becoming self-sufficient and prosperous on their own land.
PepsiCo Vietnam develops domestic potatoes for producing internationally quality products.
In Vietnam, the potato snack industry is experiencing robust growth, with annual growth rates consistently in the double digits. However, the supply of domestic fresh potatoes can only meet about 70%-75% of the demand. For over a decade, PepsiCo Vietnam has been researching and exploring suitable land to establish potato raw material areas.
Concurrently, PepsiCo Vietnam has invested in researching two potato varieties, FL2215 and FL2027, which have achieved high yields of up to 56.7 tons per hectare under tropical cultivation conditions. The FL2215 variety, in particular, exhibits excellent resistance to heavy rainfall in the Central Highlands provinces. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has officially recognized this project for production.
To deliver internationally quality products to consumers, PepsiCo continuously conducts research and experimentation to build a more sustainable food ecosystem.
Currently, PepsiCo holds a leading position, with Lay's being the world's largest food brand. The company aims to continue offering the tastiest potato chips on the market, staying true to its commitment to consumers. PepsiCo Vietnam believes that Lay's success lies in the quality of sustainably grown potatoes from regenerated fields within the country. By providing superior products, PepsiCo Vietnam aims to educate, advocate, and inspire various consumer groups to take positive actions and make better choices for themselves and the planet.
After a decade of partnering with farmers to develop raw material areas in the Central Highlands (Tay Nguyen) region, PepsiCo is once again embarking on a new journey in the northern mountainous region. This new venture presents similar challenges, such as climate conditions, farming practices, and building trust. However, in the narratives of those who have been involved in sustainable cultivation practices from the early days, there is no longer worry about efficiency, only confidence and high expectations for the "sweet fruits" that await them and their fellow farmers.