Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo Inc., which grows and uses more than 3 million tons of fruits and vegetables for its juice brands each year, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Agriculture of the People's Republic of China to promote sustainable agriculture projects and accelerate the development of the Chinese countryside.  

As part of the joint initiative, PepsiCo and the Ministry of Agriculture will build and operate demonstration farms that leverage the most advanced irrigation, fertilization and crop management techniques. They also will collaborate to promote best practices across China's farming system to improve yields, increase income levels and raise living standards for farmers throughout the country, according to PepsiCo.

"PepsiCo takes great pride in creating tailored approaches to business investment that achieve both commercial and social objectives,” said Tim Minges, chairman of PepsiCo's Greater China Region, in a statement. “Our success in promoting sustainable agriculture programs in China and around the world is a great example of our ability to drive PepsiCo's performance while also improving the communities in which we do business. Our experience and expertise in modern farming enables PepsiCo to get more 'crop per drop' and we are excited to work with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture to introduce many of these best practices to benefit China's local farmers and the environment."

"The advancement of sustainable agriculture is an important component of China's agriculture policy,” said Wang Ying, director-general of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Agriculture, in a statement. “The 12th Five-Year Plan adopted last year set out clear objectives for the development of sustainable agriculture in the new era, especially the need for speeding up agricultural modernization. By partnering with PepsiCo, we will be able to enlist advanced foreign technologies for the building of modern farms and promote best practices across the country. This is a substantive step in our efforts to carry out the policies and guidelines introduced in the Five-Year Plan."

PepsiCo is one of the largest agriculture-related enterprises in China, having invested more than USD $31 million in local agricultural development, the company says. These investments, supported by PepsiCo's proven expertise in crop plantation and irrigation, have benefited more than 10,000 rural Chinese households and created a win-win solution for local farmers and the company, it adds.

PepsiCo also is investing in rural communities in China. For example, the PepsiCo Foundation announced a $5 million grant in June to support the All-China Women's Federation in its efforts to provide access to clean water in rural areas of China, benefiting 500,000 people by 2015. The company's 10-year cooperation with Water Cellars for Mothers has brought clean drinking water access to more than 50,000 people in water-stressed regions across China, PepsiCo says.