Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government has decided to back the nine potato farmers locked in a legal battle with food and beverages giant PepsiCo after the latter dragged them to court for growing a potato variety which it claimed was its registered product. A day after senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel stated that the state could not keep “its eyes shut” to the issue, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on Sunday stated that the government had decided to join as a party in the lawsuits filed by the company.
Nitin Patel told a section of the media that the state government had received the representation of the farmers to intervene in the matter and it would submit to the court to be included as a party backing the farmers cause. Ahmed Patel on Saturday described PepsiCo’s action “brazenly wrong” and as many as 192 farmer organisations, including the RSS-affiliate Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, and rights activists made a strong representation that the company should withdraw the cases against the farmers. PepsiCo has sued the nine farmers of Sabarkantha and Aravalli districts of North Gujarat for allegedly growing the FL2027 or FC5 variety of potatoes for which it has claimed Plant Variety Protection (PVP) rights. The company has stated that it obtained PVP rights over the potato variety under the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right (PPVFR) Act, 2001. (IANS)
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