India: PepsiCo loses rights to special Lays variety potato

Two years after PepsiCo India’s court case against nine Gujarati farmers for allegedly infringing patent rights by growing its registered potato variety, the company’s registration has been revoked by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights’ Authority (PPV&FRA).

Kavitha Kuruganti, convenor of the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture, who had filed the petition to revoke the food giant’s registration: “This judgement is a historic victory for the farmers of India. It should also prevent any other seed or food corporation from transgressing legally granted farmers’ seed freedoms in India.”

The FL-2027 variety of potatoes, used in Lays potato chips, came to the limelight in April 2019, when it became the centerpiece for case in the potato belt of northern Gujarat. Introduced to India in 2009, the potato was grown by about 12,000 farmers with whom the company had an exclusive contract to sell seeds and buy back their produce.

PepsiCo is currently reviewing the order, but refused to offer further comments as of yet.


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