Gherkin growers adopt drip irrigation in India
Gherkin growers adopt drip irrigation in India.
Drip irrigation involves applying separate droplets of water directly to the plant’s roots via a network of pipelines – dramatically cutting water use by as much as 40%. By creating optimal growing conditions for the plant, it also boosts yields by up to 35%.
The benefits of the system are crucial in India, which faces acute water shortages and low agricultural productivity. So any method that can boost yields while cutting water use is particularly welcome to local farmers.
Because it can tackle these two critical issues, drip irrigation is set to play an important role as part of Unilever’s overall sustainable sourcing strategy in India. The business also views it as a vital tool both in tackling the country’s rising food needs and ensuring the security of its own supply pipeline for Maille and Amora.
Unilever now aims to help up to 1,000 gherkin farmers transition to drip irrigation by 2015, as well as extending the system to growers of vegetables and spices.
Alongside drip irrigation, Unilever also focuses on helping Indian farmers use composting to cut water use. Applying farmyard manure to soil improves its ability to retain water, as does soil mulching.
“Ensuring a sustainable supply chain for gherkins, and ultimately for our Amora and Maille brands, has been a long-term commitment from the team in India,” says Dr Vijay Sachdeva who is directly involved in this project as part of the Unilever sourcing team for South Asia.
“These small-scale farmers are developing sustainable processes that we are proud and delighted to support.”
Hindustan Unilever Limited,
B. D. Sawant Marg,
Chakala, Andheri (E),
Mumbai - 400 099.
T: +91 22 39830000
F: +91 22 22871970