GUJARAT GOVERNMENT BACKS POTATO FARMERS IN PEPSICO CASE
28, Apr 2019
Prelims level : Economics Mains level : GS-III Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
Why in News?
- The Gujarat government has decided to back the nine potato farmers locked in a legal battle with food and beverages giant PepsiCo after the latter dragged them to court for growing a potato variety which it claimed was its registered product.
- The state government had received the representation of the farmers to intervene in the matter and it would submit to the court to be included as a party backing the farmers cause.
- PepsiCo has sued the nine farmers of Sabarkantha and Aravalli districts of North Gujarat for allegedly growing the FL2027 or FC5 variety of potatoes for which it has claimed Plant Variety Protection (PVP) rights.
- The company has stated that it obtained PVP rights over the potato variety under the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right (PPVFR) Act, 2001.
- It asserted that the farmers were violating its rights over the seed variety.
- The farmers, on the other hand, made their case citing the provisions of the very legislation which, they claimed allows “to save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under this Act”.
- The company said it was “compelled to take the legal recourse” to safeguard the interests of thousands of farmers associated with its “collaborative potato farming programme”.
- North Gujarat has come to represent the potato bowl of the country producing more than 33 lakh tonnes from 1.21 lakh hectares.
The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV& FR) Act,2001:
- Enacted by India in 2001 adopting sui generis system.
- It is in conformity with International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), 1978. The legislation recognizes the contributions of both commercial plant breeders and farmers in plant breeding activity and also provides to implement TRIPs in away that supports the specific socio-economic interests of all the stakeholders including private, public sectors and research institutions, as well as resource-constrained farmers.
Objectives of the PPV &; FR Act, 2001:
- To establish an effective system for the protection of plant varieties, the rights offarmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varietiesof plants.
- To accelerate agricultural development in the country, protect plant breeders’rights; stimulate investment for research and development both in public &private sector for the development new of plant varieties.
- Facilitate the growth of seed industry in the country which will ensure the availability of high-quality seeds and planting material to the farmers.