Agri Business

PepsiCo-potato farmers row: Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture opposes Gujarat Govt’s out-of-court settlement

K V Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on May 02, 2019

Agriculture in India was originally outside the purview of intellectual property laws.

The Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) has opposed reported move by the Gujarat Government to go for a out-of-court settlement in the potato dispute between PepsiCo and farmers.

Nothing less than a clear reiteration of Section 39(1)(iv) of the Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers Rights (PPV&FR) Act 2001 is satisfactory and justifiable. This specific section provides an entitlement to farmers of India to cultivate any variety that they would like to, including PVP-registered varieties, ASHA has said.

The ASHA is an umbrella association of non-governmental organisations, scientists and intellectuals working towards sustainable agriculture. "It is clear that Section 39(1)(iv) is applicable irrespective of source of seed, type of seed, type of registrant, type of crop, and to who and how the harvest was sold," it said.

"PepsiCo should withdraw the cases unconditionally, explicitly acknowledging that its rights under the law are indeed subject to farmers’ rights. It is PepsiCo that should be asked to sign an undertaking that this will not happen to our farmers again," Kavitha Kuruganti of ASHA said.

There should be absolutely no compromise on farmers’ rights and seed sovereignty. The state government should therefore make Section 39 (1) (iv) as the basis of any settlement, if at all, and anything less than that is unacceptable, " Kapil Shah of Jatan of Gujarat, said.

Published on May 02, 2019

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