Irrigation is a science that has been developed by mankind over thousands of years, and the latest step in its journey toward peak efficiency comes by way of multinational food and beverage manufacturer PepsiCo.
The conglomerate has partnered with Israeli irrigation tech company N-Drip in order to help farmers around the world adopt technology that will improve their farms’ water efficiency.
Under its pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) brand, PepsiCo has made efforts in the scaling and adoption of regenerative farming practices; its partnership with N-Drip furthers its goal of improving direct agricultural supply chain water use efficiency by 15% by 2025 (against a 2015 baseline) in areas of high water risk.
At present, the methods used by farmers are decidedly inefficient. Many rely on flood or trench irrigation to bring water to their crops, which floods the field at regular intervals and loses up to 70% of the water used. Alternatives to flood irrigation are often too expensive for many farmers to use, prohibiting them from selling their low-margin crops at a profit.
N-Drip’s high-efficiency irrigation system is powered by gravity and harnesses the water-saving benefits of high-pressure drip irrigation, but with low energy, operating and maintenance demands. That makes it more accessible to all types of farmers and nearly all types of crops.
The technology has enabled farmers to save water, see larger crop yields, and reduce the need for expensive fertilizers. The switch from traditional irrigation to N-Drip also leads to reduced carbon emissions by as much as 83%. It reduces methane emissions by as much as 78%.
“We’re thrilled to partner with PepsiCo with the goal of removing barriers to access, introducing and implementing N-Drip to farmers around the world,” said Eran Pollak, CEO of N-Drip. “As PepsiCo sources crops from farms of all types and sizes, N-Drip’s proprietary technology allows our partnership to make precise irrigation accessible to all types of farmers, from those with massive farms to those with one-acre plots.”
N-Drip technology is currently being used in farms in 17 countries around the world, and several of those applications are in PepsiCo crops.
“To date, we’ve implemented N-Drip’s technology with farmers in India, Vietnam and the US, and saw improved crop yields, reduced fertilizer usage and 50% less water consumed compared to flood irrigation,” said Rob Meyers, VP of sustainable agriculture at PepsiCo. “We’re thrilled to grow our partnership further by scaling N-Drip’s technology to make an even bigger impact across our agricultural footprint.”