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

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.