PepsiCo India case: Gujarat govt backs farmers, will seek to become party to lawsuits

The Gujarat government has decided to back four potato farmers in their fight against PepsiCo’s ₹4.2 crore lawsuit against them for allegedly infringing its rights by growing the potato used in Lays chips.

Earlier in the week, leading rights groups and individuals working for farmers’ rights in the country had sought the Central government’s intervention to protect at least eleven farmers in Gujarat against whom PepsiCo India had slapped lawsuits.

“The farmers in their representation had sought the state government’s help. Today, the state government decided that we will seek (the court’s permission) to be added as parties backing the farmers in all the ongoing cases. We will have our government lawyers fight the case (for the farmers). What PepsiCo India has done is unfair and we fully support our farmers,” said BJP leader  Nitin Patel.

Senior Congress leader from Gujarat Ahmed Patel said it was a “wake-up call” for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, adding, “why have they been sleeping for so long when an MNC is taking our farmers to court? The Centre is yet to take any action, the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority should have intervened.”

PepsiCo has already offered to settle the case out of court in the wake of boycott calls, which have spread to global social media. However, the company is still insisting that the farmers stop using its registered variety of potato and surrender their existing stocks, or join its corporate farming programme which involves an exclusive buyback clause.

The case goes up for hearing in an Ahmedabad civil court on June 12.

Saurabh Chopra

With a blend of vivid areas of interest, Saurabh is a passionate reader and a news writer. He is always enthusiastic and proactive in finding the latest in his fields of interest. Saurabh is also a keen observer in the economic and business pits and falls.

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