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Ahmed Patel urges Gujarat to intervene in interest of farmers

New Delhi

27-April-2019

Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Saturday called upon the BJP government in Gujarat to intervene in the interest of farmers in court case filed by Pepsico, saying that "corporate interest cannot dictate what our farmers must or mustnt cultivate."

In a tweet, Patel said that Pepsi's decision to take Gujarat's potato grower farmers to court is "ill-advised and brazenly wrong."

"It is in violation of the farmers' right. The state shouldn't keep its eyes shut. Corporate interest cannot dictate what our farmers must or mustn't cultivate," Patel said. 

Global beverages and food products giant PepsiCo India on Friday expressed its willingness for an out-of-court settlement with the potato growers of Gujarat whom it had dragged to the court for growing FL2027 or FC5 variety of potatoes, for which the company claims exclusive rights.

The variety is used by PepsiCo in its popular chips brand Lay's.

The company made the offer during a hearing at the Commercial Court of Ahmedabad.

PepsiCo India proposed to amicably settle with people who were unlawfully using seeds of its registered variety (FC5). It also proposed that they may become part of its collaborative potato farming programme and if they did not wish to join, they can simply sign an agreement and grow other available varieties of potatoes, but not this particular variety.

The firm had filed a law suit against four farmers from Vadali, the potato-growing belt in Sabarkantha district of North Gujarat, for violation of intellectual property rights of a plant variety registered by the company under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001. The company had sought Rs 1 crore in 'estimated damages' from these farmers.

The company said it was compelled to take the judicial recourse as a last resort to safeguard the larger interest of thousands of farmers engaged with its collaborative potato farming programme. IANS