Ahmedabad: US food and beverages giant PepsiCo has left nine farmers in Gujarat in shock after it sued them for allegedly illegally growing and selling the company’s exclusive variety of potatoes, causing farmer leaders and activists to launch a protest against the company.
PepsCo claims it has sole right to grow potatoes called FL 2027, which is a hybrid of FL 1867 and Wischip varieties, to manufacture chips for its brand.
The farmers are from the Sabarkantha and Aravalli districts of Gujarat and some reports say four farmers were slapped with a lawsuit of ₹1 crore each for an “estimated damage” to PepsiCo stemming from the alleged infringement of its IPR for the potato variety, which the company uses for its Lay’s chips.
Following this, a commercial court in Ahmedabad had directed the farmers to stop growing and selling the potatoes till April 26, when it will next hear the case.
The move triggered a protest from farmers, scientists, activists and unions from across the country.