Food and beverages giant PepsiCo on Friday ‘unconditionally’ withdrew all the cases against Gujarat potato farmers for alleged infringement of rights over the particular variety of potato.
“PepsiCo has today unconditionally withdrawn the case against farmers of Banaskantha, Sabarkantha and Aravalli districts. This is a victory of the farmers,” Anand Yagnik, the lawyer representing farmers, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Earlier on May 6, the PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt Ltd had withdrawn one of the lawsuits it had filed against the farmers for allegedly growing a variety of potato for which it claimed to have secured exclusive rights.
PepsiCo had filed suits against farmers claiming they had grown the FL2027 or FC5 variety of potatoes, which were the company's intellectual property under the Indian law.
Altogether, 11 farmers were dragged to three different courts in Gujarat for alleged infringement of rights over the particular variety of potato, with the company making damage claims of up to Rs 1 crore from each cultivator.
The move comes after the company last week announced it will withdraw cases against Gujarat farmers, following a meeting its executives had with state government officials in Gandhinagar.
Over 190 activists had last month come out in support of the farmers and requested the Union government to ask PepsiCo to withdraw its "false" cases.
In a letter to the Ministry of Agriculture, 194 signatories had sought financial aid and protection of rights of farmers sued for growing and selling FC-5 potato variety for which PepsiCo claimed to have obtained "exclusive rights in the country in 2016".