NetIndian News Network
Multi-national companies PepsiCo and McDonald’s have denied Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj’s allegation that they did not keep their promise of buying potatoes from Indian farmers and instead imported their requirements of such items for their products sold in outlets in India.
Ms Swaraj had made the allegation during the debate on foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail in the Lok Sabha yesterday.
Refuting the allegation, PepsiCo India said in a statement issued last night that it sourced all its potato requirement from within the country.
“We are the largest procurer of potato in India and procured 240,000 MT of potato from Indian farmers in 2012 which is more than double of what we procured 5 years ago,” the company said.
“PepsiCo India has established a model of partnership with farmers and now works with over 24,000 happy farmers across nine states. Some of the key states include West Bengal, Punjab, Gujarat, UP, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Bihar. We have also set up a state of the art potato seed facility in Punjab and all the seed that we provide to farmers across the country is grown by Punjab and Haryana farmers.
“PepsiCo has over the years, not just given more opportunity to potato farmers but also worked in close partnership with the farming community with a vision of creating a cost-effective, localized agro-base in India by leveraging its access to world class agricultural practices. PepsiCo works with farmers throughout the crop cycle – providing quality seeds, technical expertise, facilitating loans from banks, harvesting expertise etc.,” the statement added.
Mr Vikram Bakshi, Managing Director of McDonald’s India, said in a statement that, before setting up its business in India, McDonald’s had made a commitment to the Government on local sourcing of its entire raw material requirement.
“We confidently and proudly state that ingredients used in our products are sourced locally that includes the French Fries.
“We import only on rare occasions when local supplies run out.
“Being committed to quality, we have stringent standards for the kind of potatoes we use for French Fries; they have to be of a certain length, have high solids content and low moisture content. When we began developing our business in India, there were no process grade potato varieties available in India; only table grade variety of potato was grown.
“We, along with our supplier, McCain, have worked closely with farmers in India to produce process-grade potato varieties.. We continue to contribute in the growth of these farmers.
“McDonald’s remains steadfast to its commitment of working with local suppliers and farmers to source all its requirements in India,” the statement added.