Potato farmers hit back at PepsiCo, seek compensation for harassment

Potato farmers hit back at PepsiCo, seek compensation for harassment

The US food and drinks giant PepsiCo has withdrawn its lawsuits against Indian farmers that the company claimed were growing a type of potato it owned the rights to. Pepsi, which owns the potato chips brand Lays, had wanted the farmers to pay compensation to them.

The farmers who were taken to court now want compensation from PepsiCo for harassment and intimidation. 

“PepsiCo should withdraw the cases unconditionally. Also the company has to pay us compensation for all the harassment we were put through even though the law is clear on the subject,” said Bipin Patel in a media briefing on Friday. Patel is one of the four potato growers against whom PepsiCo had filed a suit. “We would like the state government to reveal the full details of the ongoing discussions with the company since we are demanding an unconditional withdrawal based on a reiteration of Sec. 39 (1) (iv) of PPV&FR Act 2001, and anything else is not acceptable,” the sued potato growers said.

Farmers also said that there cannot be any compromise on farmers’ seed rights through any new seeds related legislations that can be tabled in the Parliament like an amended Seeds Bill etc.

Earlier on 24th April 2019 food and beverages giant PepsiCo dragged four farmers to court for allegedly illegally growing a variety of potatoes “registered” by the company. Nine farmers from Sabarkantha and Aravalli districts were being sued by PepsiCo for allegedly growing a variety of potatoes.

PepsiCo had invoked section 64 of Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights act 2001 to claim infringement of its rights.

These are among the first cases of IPR infringement among Indian farmers said WTO in a post.

However the company later withdraw the lawsuit against the farmers after their discussion with the government stating the reason as resolution for all.