[Premium] PepsiCo Vs Potato Farmers Case – Protecting Seed Sovereignty

PepsiCo, a multi-million dollar conglomerate, has sued Gujarati farmers asking them to pay ₹1.05 crore each for alleged violation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

The company claimed that farmers violated its patent rights by cultivating the potato variety used in its chips product named Lays.

However, after facing boycott calls by potato farmers and the government’s pressure, PepsiCo has offered to withdraw the case if the farmers stop growing the registered potato variety used in its Lays chips.

This issue highlights the importance of seed sovereignty and the role played by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001 in protecting the rights of the farmers and prevent seed monopoly.

This article explains the following in an analytical manner with a mindmap for quick revision:

  1. What is the issue?
  2. What is PepsiCo's perspective?
  3. What is the farmers' perspective?
  4. What is contract farming?
  5. What is seed sovereignty?
  6. What are the salient features of Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001?
  7. Why is the PPV&FR Act significant?
  8. What is the way forward?
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Farmers’ Suicides in India – Reasons, Initiatives, Challenges & Solutions

Recently, farmers from various regions of the country marched to Delhi to register their protest against the government’s neglect of farmers’ demands. Poor earnings of the farmers led to the never-ending distress in the agricultural sector and this resulted in the increasing number of farmer suicides. These worrying realities call for an appropriate policy response and sustainable alternatives to the current agricultural methods.