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India: Pepsico to withdraw cases against farmers

Author: Priscilla Jebaraj, Hindu, India, Published on: 20 May 2019

 "Pepsico agrees to withdraw cases against Gujarat farmers", 02 May, 2019

In a victory for Gujaratpotato f armers dragged to court by PepsiCo for alleged rights infringement, the food and beverages giant says it has agreed to withdraw the cases.

“After discussions with the Government…We are relying on the said discussions to find a long term and an amicable resolution of all issues around seed protection,” said a PepsiCo spokesperson.

This decision applies to the nine farmers PepsiCo has sued over the last two years for allegedly growing its registered potato variety which is used for Lays chips.

…The PepsiCo decision follows criticism from political parties and farmers rights groups, as well as boycott calls on global social media

Outrage continued to grow…with farmers groups across the political spectrum calling for boycotts and senior politicians from both the ruling BJP and opposition Congress slamming the company, in the midst of a Lok Sabha election putting the spotlight on farmers issues. …the Gujarat government announced that it would back the farmers and join the legal case on their behalf. 

…PepsiCo had decided to withdraw the cases “backed by an assurance from the government for a long term amicable settlement”, adding that both the Gujarat state government and the Centre were involved in such an assurance to the company.

Some farmers groups objected to the idea of any “long term solution” being negotiated by the government. “The only long-term solution needed is already given in Section 39 of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001 which allows any farmer to grow or sell produce even of registered varieties so long as he does not sell branded seed.

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Related companies: Frito-Lay (part of PepsiCo) Pepsico India