Gujarat potato farmers case: Agriculture Ministry issues notice to PepsiCo

  1. Agriculture ministry has issued a notice to PepsiCo India to revoke the registration of its potato variety used to make its trademark Lays chips.
  2. This move comes after PepsiCo had withdrawn the cases against potato growers in Gujarat after discussions with the government.
  3. PepsiCo uses FC5 variety of potato for making chips.For this,PepsiCo had also entered into an exclusive buyback arrangements with farmers in India.It had also engaged with the farmers in Gujarat for sowing and producing the FC-5 variety of potato for its snacks division.
  4. However,PepsiCo had found potato farmers not under such an arrangement with the company buying seeds and selling the FC5 variety of potatoes,following which it had filed suit against them.
  5. Under the suit,PepsiCo had claimed exclusive rights over the said variety under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act,2001 seeking damages worth Rs 1 crore from at least four farmers.
  6. However,farmers groups have cited Section 39 of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act,2001 which specifically says that a farmer is allowed to grow and sell any variety of crop or even seed as long as they don’t sell branded seed of registered varieties.
  7. The Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right Act,2001(PPVFR Act) is an Act of the Parliament of India that was enacted to provide for the establishment of an effective system for the protection of plant varieties,the rights of farmers and plant breeders, and to encourage the development and cultivation of new varieties of plants.