Skip to main content

Symbolic protest: Gujarat farmers 'sow' potato seed PepsiCo claims it had developed

By Our Representative
In a symbolic protest against PepsiCo, which had filed a case against Gujarat farmers for “illegally” using sowing the potato variety FL-2027 the company claims to have developed and hence has intellectual property right (IPR) over it, the affected farmers and their leaders took up the variety’s symbolic sowing at a press conference in Ahmedabad.
The farmers claimed, the protest action was an assertion of their right over their right over seed varieties and freedom to produce it, as provided to them under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act 2001 (PPV&FR Act).
Earlier this year, PepsiCo India sued several Gujarat potato farmers citing IPR infringement. Following massive resistance by farmer rights activists across Gujarat, the company was forced to withdraw the cases it had filed.
“PepsiCo’s legal suits against Gujarat’s potato farmers in 2018 and 2019 were first such cases that challenged the seed freedoms and customary rights of farmers, enshrined in the PPV&FR Act, 2001”, said Kapil Shah, a farmers’ rights activist of the Beej Adhikar Manch.
“By emphasising that exclusive right has been conferred on the company by virtue of its variety getting registered in the Plant Varieties Registry of the Government of India, the company chose to trample upon farmers’ rights”, Shah asserted.
Pointing out that, despite withdrawal of the cases, PepsiCo continues justify its “objectionable actions against farmers”, and is trying to “instil a sense of fear and anxiety among farmers”, Shah said, “The farmers’ decision to symbolically sowing FL-2027/FC-5 variety is to let farmers know their rights, to re-assert the same, and to let the company know that farmers cannot be intimidated.”
The symbolic protest comes close on the heels of PepsiCo revived its intention to take action against Gujarat farmers using sowing FL-2027 potato variety
The symbolic protest comes after PepsiCo India, in a submission to the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority in September 2019, said in its defense that the PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt Ltd (PIH) is "the holder of certificate of registration for FL-2027" and therefore has "rights under the Act to pursue necessary actions against individuals and companies alike who infringe its rights granted under the Act”.
Talking with mediapersons, Vitthalbhai Patel of the Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) said, this shows “PIH continues to contend that farmers’ rights as contained in Section 39 (1)(iv) are not over-arching.”
Farmers’ leaders from the non-political Gujarat Khedut Samaj (GKS) said, the PepsiCo move would be met with stiff resistance across Gujarat, and a private company cannot be allowed to infringe upon farmers’ rights in an agrarian country like India.
Dr AR Pathak, a senior plant breeder and former vice chancellor of two agricultural universities of Gujarat, who is with the Gujarat Association of Agricultural Sciences (GASS), said, “Section 28 of PPV&FR Act, under which the PepsiCo had filed its case, did not apply to farming activity, but on the sale of seeds”.

Comments

TRENDING

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says:

'Discussed' with Modi, Gujarat Rann Sarovar proposal for Kutch runs into rough weather

By Rajiv Shah
Top Saurashtra industrialist Jaysukhbhai Patel’s by now controversial proposal to convert the 4,900 sq km Little Rann of Kutch area, an eco-sensitive zone – a UNESCO biosphere, world’s only wild ass reserve, and a nesting ground of lesser flamingoes – into a huge sweet water lake, called Rann Sarovar, has suffered a major roadblock. At least three Central agencies have expressed serious doubts about its feasibility.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.