India is suspending patents for a variety of cultivated potatoes, specifically grown for the popular potato chips Lay’s owned by PepsiCo Inc. This is in accordance to the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Authority order issued on Friday.
In 2019, PepsiCo sued Indian farmers in western Gujarat for planting FC5 potatoes, which contained low moisture content required to produce snacks such as chips.
That same year, the New York-based company said it wanted to resolve the issue amicably after withdrawing the lawsuit.
Farmers rights activist Kavitha Kuruganti later filed a petition in the PPVFR for PepsiCo’s FC5 for intellectual property rights, claiming that Indian law does not allow seed patenting.
The PPVFR authorities agreed with Kuruganti’s argument that Pepsi could not claim the seed patent.
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“The certificate of registration… is hereby revoked with immediate effect,” K. V. Prabhu, chairman of the PPVFR Authority said in the order, seen by Reuters.
A PepsiCo India spokesman said: “We are aware of the order passed by the PPVFR Authority and are in the process of reviewing the same.”
PepsiCo claims to have produced FC5 potato varieties and registered the trait in 2016.
The company, which established itself in India its first potato chip factory in 1989, offers the FC5 seed collection to a group of farmers who in turn sell their products to the company at a fixed price.
Potato farmers in Gujarat hailed the PPVFR ruling as a win for farmers.
“The order is a big victory for farmers of India, and reaffirms their right to cultivate any crops,” said Bipin Patel, who was one of the Gujarat-based farmers sued by Pepsi in 2019.
Read report by Boston based Corporate Accountability organization featuring @GreatGameIndia research on how ILSI – An International Shadowy Group Is Influencing India’s Food Policy 👉🏾 https://t.co/OBpayr8LNz— GreatGameIndia (@GreatGameIndia) May 14, 2020
CA Report Partnership for Unhealthy Planet 👉🏾 https://t.co/r7KuhYmy55 pic.twitter.com/xtvsxMCQ39
A recent report by Boston based organisation Corporate Accountability sheds light on how big business interferes with global health policy and science. The report titled PARTNERSHIP FOR AN UNHEALTHY PLANET features GreatGameIndia‘s research on International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) – an American nonprofit which has been quietly infiltrating Indian government’s health and nutrition bodies influencing India’s food policy on behalf of the chemical industry.
Political interference by food and beverage transnationals like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Nestlé, and PepsiCo is pervasive. The report dives into how these corporations have leveraged ILSI to cripple progress on nutrition policy across the globe, including in India.
The entire nation is abuzz with the concept of “Self Reliant India”, the Prime Minister of India just learned from the Coronavirus crisis. We are glad atleast now the importance of self reliance is being openly talked about, if not implemented yet.
For any nation to be a Superpower, the first and foremost criteria (nevermind the rest) is to be Food Self Sufficient. And to be self reliant is to be able to make your own policies. So, we ask, how self reliant is India’s Food Policy?