New Delh, Apr 27: Terming it as an ill-advised, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Saturday said US multinational Pepsi’s decision to take Gujarat’s potato farmers to court is 'brazenly wrong' and in violation of the farmers' rights under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Act, 2001.
"The state government should not keep its eyes shut,” Mr Patel tweeted. 'Corporate interest cannot dictate what our farmers must or must not cultivate,' he added in his micro-blogging site. PepsiCo has filed a complaint against nine farmers for growing the same variety of potatoes in 2018 as the company for making the product ‘Lays' chips. Recently, it also asked four farmers in Gujarat to pay a fine of Rs 1.5 crore for rights violation.
The basic objective of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Act, 2001 is to recognise and protect the rights of the breeders, including farmers, and stimulate investment for research and development in the public and private sector for the development of new plant varieties.
However, PepsiCo claims that it has “exclusive rights” to the FL-2027 potato in India since 2016, therefore, no other farmers could grow this variety without their permission. Dozens of activists and farmers’ unions have written to the Ministry of Agriculture condemning the suit, accusing PepsiCo of intimidation. (UNI)