Narendra Modi, India's abstemious prime minister, has come up with an idea for a fizzy drink cocktail that sounds most promising.
Modi said in Karnataka, multinational soft-drink giants like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola should try and mix aerated drinks with 5 per cent of fruit juice to help distressed farmers find a new market for their produce.
"We drink Pepsi, Coca Cola and I do not know how many similar beverages are available in the market. The trade runs into billions of rupees. I have asked the companies if they can blend 5 per cent natural fruit juice in the beverages they make," Modi said after inaugurating the country's first integrated food park in the state.
"I am not asking for much. If 5 per cent of juice from fruits produced by our farmers is added, the farmer will not be forced to search for a market to sell. A single decision can ensure billions of rupees of trade," he said.
Modi added that he has already asked government research bodies to work on the possibility of blending cola drinks, which are widely considered unhealthy, with natural fruit juice.
If this happens, farmers will not be forced to dump their produce or let it go waste because of unremunerative prices, and the country can save Rs30-40,000 crore by reducing the wastage of food products through processing.
In his 20-minute speech, Modi stressed the importance of improving storage facilites, processing, and value additions, which is the main purpose of the park.
Perhaps hinting at a loosening up of proscriptions on genetically modified foods, he also underscored the need for adopting more scientific methods of farming.