Forum calls for boycott of PepsiCo products

Flays MNC’s move to sue Gujarat farmers for using its patented seeds

April 29, 2019 08:24 am | Updated 08:24 am IST - Thiruvananthapuram

The State unit of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, a political and cultural forum, has called for a boycott of all products manufactured by the US-based multinational PepsiCo to protest against the company’s decision to sue farmers in Gujarat for using its patented seeds to grow potatoes. State convener of SJM M.R. Ranjit Karthikeyan said PepsiCo, manufacturer of the Lays brand of potato chips, had filed the suit against four farmers from Sabarkantha district in Gujarat, accusing them of intellectual property rights infringement for buying seeds and selling a variety of potato registered by the company under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001.

In a press note, Mr. Karthikeyan said it was the duty of the State to protect the interests of the farmers and shield them from the so-called breeders of plant varieties. “This is an indicator of what is in store for farmers who are not willing to be bound by the contract farming trap laid by foreign corporates. It is not acceptable at all in a country like India which has a rich and vast history of an agrarian economy.”

Mr. Karthikeyan also urged the government to withdraw the IPRs to foreign companies and to protect farmers’ rights. The SJM has called on the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority to intervene in the issue and protect the farmers rights.

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