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India: Gujarat potato growers want compensation from PepsiCo

The Siasat Daily reports that even though PepsiCo India has announced it is withdrawing lawsuits against Gujarat’s potato growers, the affected farmers on Friday demanded compensation for the harassment they were subjected to, while a newly-formed entity Bij Adhikar Manch (forum for rights over seeds) called for boycott of PepsiCo products.

According to the Siasat Daily report, the farmers also demanded that the withdrawal of cases against them by the food and beverages giant should be unconditional since the statement issued by the company did not speak about ensuring non-infringement of the rights of the potato growers over what they produced.

PepsiCo had filed suits against nine farmers — four cases this year and five last year — from the potato-growing belt in north Gujarat, claiming they had grown the FL2027 or FC5 variety of potatoes, which were the company’s intellectual property under the Indian law. PepsiCo uses the potatoes to manufacture chips under its popular brand Lay’s.

Demanding compensation, Bipin Patel, one of the farmers against whom the company had filed legal suits, told reporters: “Its (PepsiCo) real intention might have been to wipe out competitors from the market but it chose to harass the farmers. The company has to pay us compensation for all the harassment we were put through.”

Read the full report in the Siasat Daily here

Also read this on Storypick: PepsiCo Withdraws Lawsuit, But Gujarat’s Potato Farmers Now Demand Harassment Compensation