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Gujarat Govt Hasn’t Consulted Farmers Sued By Pepsico Or Involved Farmers’ Organisations In Discussions: Farmers’ Groups

They said they would intensify their agitation if govt tried to persuade farmers not to grow the variety of potato for which PepsiCo sued.

Ahmedabad: Farmers’ organizations alleged Saturday that the Gujarat government had yet to consult them or the cultivators sued by PepsiCo India for growing a `protected’ variety of potato in its discussions with the company.

PepsiCo has decided to withdraw the cases filed against nine farmers in Gujarat following an outcry.

“The Gujarat government, after making itself a mediator in this controversy, has not consulted the farmers sued by PepsiCo and has not involved any farmers’ organizations in the discussions it is holding with PepsiCo India,” farmers rights groups said in a joint statement.

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They also said they would intensify their agitation, if the government, as reported by an English daily, tried to persuade farmers not to grow the variety of potato for which PepsiCo is claiming Plant Variety Protection (PVP) rights, or tried to persuade farmers to sell the produce only to the company.

“Why should the government try to persuade the farmers when they have not committed any crime under our law?” the statement asked.

No permission is required to be taken by farmers for growing any variety including registered ones as per the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act, 2001, they said.

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PepsiCo India Thursday announced that it will withdraw cases filed against potato farmers in Gujarat.

On Friday, representatives of the company held a meeting with the Gujarat government officials and called for an “amicable solution for everyone”.

Nine farmers from Sabarkantha and Aravalli districts have been sued by the company for allegedly growing a variety of potatoes for which it has claimed PVP rights.

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