PepsiCo sues Gujarat farmers for growing a potato variety used for Lay's chips 

The farmers have sought Centre's intervention as the firm has sought damages of Rs 1 crore from each of four farmers in its suit at a court in Ahmedabad.

Published: 25th April 2019 12:16 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th April 2019 07:18 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

AHMEDABAD: PepsiCo on Tuesday sued Gujarati farmers for 'infringing its right' by growing the potato variety used in its Lay's chips. The multinational giant dragged nine farmers from Sabarkantha and Aravalli districts to court for allegedly growing a variety of potatoes for which it has claimed Plant Variety Protection (PVP) rights.

Over 190 activists on Wednesday urged the Centre to ask PepsiCo India to withdraw its "false"cases against Gujarat farmers for allegedly illegally growing a particular variety of potatoes "registered" by the company.

In a letter to the Ministry of Agriculture, 194 signatories have sought financial aid and protection of rights of farmers who have been sued for growing and selling a potato variety called FC-5 potato, for which PepsiCo India Holdings claimed to have obtained "exclusive rights in the country in 2016".

The multinational giant has sought damages of Rs 1 crore from each of four farmers in its suit at a court in Ahmedabad, and Rs 20 lakh from each of the farmers sued at a district court in Modasa, activists said at a press conference here.

The matter in Ahmedabad court will come up for hearing on April 26, they said.

The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Authority Act, 2011 exempts farmers from PVP rights, said Kapil Shah, who heads Jatan, an organisation dedicated to organic farming.

"It is for the state government to ensure that farmers are not harassed. The company should immediately withdraw the case which is untenable," said Sagar Rabari of the Gujarat Khedut Samaj.

In a letter to the Ministry of Agriculture, 194 signatories have sought financial aid and protection of rights of farmers who have been sued for growing and selling a potato variety called FC-5 potato, for which PepsiCo India Holdings claimed to have obtained "exclusive rights in the country in 2016".

Reached for its reaction, a company spokesperson said that "given the issue is sub-judice, it would not be proper to offer detailed comments".

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