PepsiCo Accused of Harassment After Suing Indian Potato Farmers
By Benjamin Parkin
PepsiCo is suing four Indian farmers who allegedly grew a patented strain of potatoes used in its Lay’s crisps without the company’s permission.
The company is seeking about $150,000 (£116,000) in damages from each of the farmers, arguing they broke the law by sourcing and dealing the potatoes without participating in its programme.
The case, due in court in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad on Friday, has sparked outrage from farmers and others concerned that Pepsi is using its clout to interfere with the country’s food supply. The role of foreign companies in producing and selling food in India is a hotly contested issue, particularly when it comes to the use of genetically modified (GM) crops.
“It’s a question of India’s seed sovereignty, food sovereignty and country sovereignty,” said Kapil Shah, an activist who is defending the farmers. “It’s spreading panic among the farmers.”
Photo courtesy of Matthew Stevens.