PepsiCo rolls out intelligent crop management tech to farmers

PepsiCo will deploy its new intelligent crop management technology to its farmers around the world, cutting water use and emissions and boosting yields.

PepsiCo on Tuesday announced that it would deploy its new intelligent crop management technology to its farmers around the world.

Appropriately called "i-Crop," the web-based tool -- which was developed with Cambridge University -- helps farmers monitor and manage crops, with the intent to reduce water use and carbon emissions and boost yield.

"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," said PepsiCo U.K. and Ireland president Richard Evans in a statement.

The American food and beverage giant -- Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade and Frito-Lay are all brands -- says it's already testing the system at 22 farms in the U.K. It didn't offer any further details as to how it works, however.

The technology will officially roll out to Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey) in 2011, with the United States to follow. It's a global play: with success, it will steam on to farms in India, China, Mexico and Australia by 2012.

That's important because of PepsiCo's largesse in the agriculture space. In the U.K. alone, it's the largest purchaser of domestic potatoes and a top buyer of local oats and apples.

The announcement also fits in nicely with the company's 2009 sustainability goals , which include efficiencies in land, energy, water and packaging use.

In fact, the company announced its first Sustainable Farming Report yesterday for the U.K. market, promising to reduce carbon emissions and water usage by 50 percent "across the farming of its core crops" in the next five years with the use of low-carbon fertilizers and new varieties of produce.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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