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Latino Daily News

Tuesday February 22, 2011

Pepsi Working to Spur Economies in L.A., First Project to Aid Sunflower Farmers in Mexico

Pepsi Working to Spur Economies in L.A., First Project to Aid Sunflower Farmers in Mexico

Photo: Mexican farmers

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PepsiCo, Inc. one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the largest multilateral provider of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean, today announced a landmark partnership to spur social and economic growth in 26 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean.

The partnership’s inaugural project was launched in Mexico with an agriculture initiative that seeks to significantly expand commercial sunflower production. The project is to create a sustainable market for sunflowers – a once-thriving commercial crop which has diminished in recent years – while providing loans and a source of income for some 850 Mexican farmers and their families. For PepsiCo, the sunflowers will provide a source of heart-healthy high-oleic sunflower oil (HOSO) for cooking potato chips, biscuits, nuts and other snacks PepsiCo produces in Mexico under the Sabritas and Gamesa-Quaker brands.

The five-year partnership between PepsiCo and the IDB will mark the first time a private-sector organization has participated in the IDB’s innovative regional trust funds for development activities. The agreement was signed at a ceremony in Mexico City attended by Mexican President Felipe Calderón.

As part of the sunflower production program, PepsiCo has committed to purchase 100 percent of the crop, for an estimated $52 million over seven years. Additionally, PepsiCo will invest $2.6 million to support management of the Mexican sunflower crop and will provide technical training to the small farmers.

In addition to the Mexican sunflower program, the partnership will expand on successful projects across the region, such as the Waste Pickers program launched two years ago in Peru and Colombia. Waste Pickers promotes recycling by creating a sustainable market for recycled materials and providing the training local recyclers need to generate a sustainable income stream. Waste Pickers will roll out in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic as part of the new partnership.

Through the broader regional partnership, the PepsiCo Foundation and the IDB will collaborate to address a variety of critical issues in Latin America and the Caribbean, including water and sanitation, recycling, youth development, disaster relief and recovery, sustainable agriculture, nutrition and food security, and sharing knowledge and best practices about sustainability.