PepsiCo sues Gujarat potato farmers, says they're growing variety used in Lay's chips
Had sought damages of Rs 1 crore from each of the four farmers previously, Now proposes settlement outside court
Ahmedabad, 27 April: Multi-billion dollar food and beverages giant PepsiCo sued four Gujarati farmers for "illegally" growing a specific kind of potato variety "registered" by the company. The Registered Variety, hybrid of FL 1867 and Wischip varieties are used in its Lays chips.
The company has asked them to pay ₹1.05 crore each as damages for ‘infringing its rights’. The counsel for PepsiCo submitted that the Gujrat farmers were growing, producing and selling it without permission of the company in violation of its statutory right granted under sections 64 and 65 of the Act.
Pepsico learnt about the farmers' growing this potato variety in the month of January and collected samples from the farm premises which were sent for verification to the in-house laboratory of the company as well as the central government’s laboratory in Shimla.
Over 190 activists on Wednesday urged the Centre to ask PepsiCo India to withdraw its "false" cases against Gujarat farmers for allegedly illegally growing a particular variety of potatoes "registered" by the company.
Now the company wants to settle outside the court and the same was confirmed by a Pepsico spokesperson in a statement today which said, "PepsiCo India has proposed to settle with people who were unlawfully using seeds of its registered variety. PepsiCo has also proposed that they may become part of its collaborative potato farming program. This program gives them access to higher yields, enhanced quality, training in best-in-class practices and better prices. In case they do not wish to join this program, they can simply sign an agreement and grow other available varieties of potatoes".