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PepsiCo sues Gujarat potato farmers

Christian Fernsby |
PepsiCo sued Gujarati farmers for 'infringing its right' by growing the potato variety used in its Lay's chips.

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a href="" class="companylink" title="Over">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".

"This is to bring to your urgent notice our serious concerns and facts around legal suits that are going against farmers on the matter of plant varietal rights. These are being filed by PepsiCo, a US multinational company against potato farmers in Gujarat, with regard to alleged infringement of its rights under Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights (PPVFR) Act 2001.

"For us, this is a matter of concern with regard to this set of farmers who have been sued and intimidated, as well as others who could be similarly bullied by seed and food corporations through vexatious litigation in the assertion of plant breeder rights," the letter said.

It asked the ministry to write to PepsiCo India Holdings, asking it to withdraw its "false and untenable cases" against the farmers.

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