Potato farmers cry foul as PepsiCo sues them

  1. Farmers groups has asked for Central government intervention to protect farmers in Gujarat against whom PepsiCo India has filed lawsuits.PepsiCo had sued farmers for growing a variety of potato to which it had the exclusive rights.The potatoes are used by PepsiCo to produce potato chips.
  2. Earlier,on a suit filed by PepsiCo,the Ahmedabad civil court had barred farmers from growing and selling potatoes till next hearing.PepsiCo had complained to the court that the farmers were illegally growing and selling a potato variety FL-2027.
  3. FL-2027 which is also known as FC-5 is registered as an intellectual property rights(IPR) with the PepsiCo company under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights (PPV&FR) Act,2001.
  4. Further,the court has also appointed an advocate as the court commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the dispute and file a report.
  5. 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.