Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Pepsi withdraws Indian potato farmer lawsuits after political pressure

Stock MarketsMay 02, 2019 01:47PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. A customer picks packets of Lay's potato chips at a shop in Ahmedabad

By Mayank Bhardwaj

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) Inc has agreed to withdraw lawsuits against Indian potato farmers it alleged infringed a patent by cultivating a variety grown exclusively for its Lay's potato chips.

The U.S. snack food and drinks maker, which in addition to filing the lawsuit against the four farmers in April had sued five other potato growers, had said it wanted to settle the issue amicably.

"After discussions with the government, the company has agreed to withdraw the cases against the farmers," a PepsiCo India spokesman said on Thursday, adding that this applied to all nine.

The decision comes at a particularly sensitive time in India, which is about halfway through a 39-day general election in which its rural population still has a dominant voice.

It also follows intervention by an influential Hindu nationalist group with close ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said PepsiCo was coercing the farmers.

Modi and the BJP are seeking a second term and most political strategists think they are likely to succeed.

PepsiCo, which did not disclose details of its consultations, had previously said the farmers must either sell their potatoes to the New York-based company or stop cultivating the FC5 variety. In return, PepsiCo would withdraw the lawsuit.

PepsiCo, which set up its first potato chips plant in India in 1989, supplies the FC5 variety to a group of farmers who in turn sell their produce to it at a fixed price.

Ashwani Mahajan, who heads the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), the economic wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which is the ideological parent of Modi's BJP, welcomed PepsiCo's move as a moral victory for Indian farmers.

"MNCs (multi national corporations) need to understand that they must honour Indian laws," Mahajan said.

PepsiCo maintains that it developed the FC5 variety of potato, which has a reduced moisture content to make snacks such as potato chips, and registered the trait in 2016.

The April lawsuit was filed in Ahmedabad, the business hub of the western state of Gujarat, requesting that the court restrain the four farmers from growing the FC5 variety.

PepsiCo had also sought more than 10 million rupees ($143,000) each from the farmers.

The state government of Gujarat, ruled by Modi's BJP, had assured the farmers that it would help them while the opposition Congress party had also criticised PepsiCo's action.

"The company remains deeply committed to the thousands of farmers we work with across the country and towards ensuring adoption of best farming practices," the PepsiCo spokesman said.

PepsiCo, the second large U.S. company to face such patent issues in India, is keen "to find a long term and amicable resolution" of the issues involving seed protection, he said.

Stung by a long-standing intellectual property dispute, seed maker Monsanto (NYSE:MON), now owned by German drugmaker Bayer AG (DE:BAYGN), withdrew from some businesses in India over a cotton-seed dispute with farmers. (reut.rs/2ncBknn)

Pepsi withdraws Indian potato farmer lawsuits after political pressure
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email