In the year 2004, Indian farmers had came up with what they thought is the real thing to keep crops free of bugs. Instead of paying hefty fees to international chemical companies for patented pesticides, they are reportedly spraying their cotton and chilli fields with Coca-Cola.
There have been reports of hundreds of farmers turning to Coke in Andhra Pradesh and Chattisgarh states. But as word gets out that soft drinks may be bad for bugs and a lot cheaper than anything that Messrs Monsanto, Shell and Dow can offer, thousands of others are expected to switch.
Gotu Laxmaiah, a farmer from Ramakrishnapuram in Andra Pradesh, said he was delighted with his new cola spray, which he applied this year to several hectares of cotton. “I observed that the pests began to die after the soft drink was sprayed on my cotton,” he told the Deccan Herald newspaper. Coca-Cola has had bad years in India.
Other farmers in Andra Pradesh state accused the company of over-extracting underground water for its bottling plants and a government committee upheld findings that drinks made in India by itself and PepsiCo contained unacceptable amounts of pesticide residue. But Mr Laxmaiah and others say their cola sprays are invaluable because they are safe to handle, do not need to be diluted and, mainly, are cheap.