Posted 6:26 p.m. ET April 26, 2019
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PepsiCo offered to settle their lawsuit against four Indian farmers who grew the patented potato variety used in their Lays chips without the company's permission.
The company's Indian subsidiary sought approximately 10 million rupees ($ 143,000) from each of the farmers earlier this month. Farmers grow potatoes in the western state of Gujarat, a major agricultural producer in India. The case provoked outrage from Indian farmers and social activists.
"PepsiCo India has proposed an amicable agreement with people who illegally used seeds of their registered variety," PepsiCo told USA Today in a statement.
The company offered to withdraw the claim if the farmers become part of their potato-growing collaboration program. Farmers would have to buy seeds and sell the product to the company at predetermined prices.
"In case you do not want to join this program, you can simply sign an agreement and grow other varieties of potatoes available," said PepsiCo.
The farmers' lawyer said they need time to consider the offer. The next hearing is June 12.
PepsiCo is the largest buyer of processed potatoes in India. He developed the largest collaborative potato growing operation in India, including thousands of farmers, the company said.
"We have been growing potatoes for a long time and we did not have this problem, since we have been using the saved seeds of a crop to plant next year's crop," said Bipin Patel, one of the four farmers. by Pepsico, he told Reuters. Farmer groups have asked the government of India to make a legal presentation on their behalf and take action against PepsiCo.
"The company was forced to take judicial recourse as a last resort to safeguard the larger interest of thousands of farmers participating in its potato-farming collaboration program," said the PepsiCo statement. The company plans to double its collaborative agriculture network over the next five years, including expanding to new regions.
"PepsiCo India has proposed an amicable agreement with people who illegally used seeds of their registered variety," PepsiCo's statement said. (Photo: Getty Images)
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