Farmers' unions, human rights organizations are seeking the intervention of the Government of India in the situation with the owners of potatoes, from which the famous Lays chips are made
Leading farmers' unions and human rights organizations are demanding that PepsiCo immediately withdraw all lawsuits that have been brought against many potato growers in different parts of Gujarat.
The Indian subsidiary of PepsiCo India Holdings (PIH) Pvt Ltd, an American multinational company, filed intellectual property infringement lawsuits between 2018 and 2019 against farmers who allegedly cultivated the FL 2027 / FCS potato cultivar without permission.
PepsiCo uses this potato variety in its popular Lays brand.
The company said that registering a potato variety designated FL-2027 (also known under the trade name FC-5) in the Indian Register of Plant Varieties in February 2016 gives it the exclusive right to a registered variety. That is, farmers do not have the right to grow this variety.
Attorney Kapil Shah, whom farmers have applied for protection, explains that, in accordance with Indian law, farmers have the right to preserve, use, sow, donate, exchange, share or sell their agricultural products, including seeds of a variety protected by registration, provided that selling branded seeds.
According to Shah, the company requested a total compensation of over Rs 4 crore from four farmers. Including new cases, a total of nine cases were brought against farmers.
The Shah said that the farmers against whom the proceedings were brought did not conclude a contract with the company for the cultivation of any particular variety.
Well-known citizens of the country sent a letter to the Indian government asking them to publish a statement, which should also be sent to the commercial court and supreme court in Ahmedabad, where there is a lawsuit against farmers, explaining the rights of farmers enshrined in law. PepsiCo is invited to withdraw their claims immediately.
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