PepsiCo sues small farmers in India over potatoes for Lays chips

By Kate Gibson

/ MoneyWatch

PepsiCo, which counts potato chip brand Lays among its many products, says it's hoping to reach an agreement with four farmers in India for growing a type of potato the food conglomerate claims to own the rights to.

The U.S. company's India subsidiary filed lawsuits against the farmers earlier this month, with a court in the Indian state of Gujaret holding a hearing on the matter Friday, according to published reports. PepsiCo, with nearly $65 billion in global food and beverage revenue last year, reportedly sought 10 million rupees, or $143,000, from each farmer, who operate farms of a few acres each.

"The company was compelled to take the judicial recourse as a last resort to safeguard the larger interest of thousands of farmers that are engaged with its collaborative potato farming program," a company spokesperson emailed CBS MoneyWatch.

That said, PepsiCo is offering to drop the case so long as the farmers agreed to join its authorized cultivation program.

"PepsiCo India has proposed to amicably settle with people who were unlawfully using seeds of its registered variety. PepsiCo has also proposed that they may become part of its collaborative potato farming program," the company spokesperson stated.

If the farmers don't want to sign on to PepsiCo's program, they can sign an agreement and grow other types of potatoes, the PepsiCo spokesperson added.

A lawyer for the farmers said they needed time to consider PepsiCo's offer, with another hearing scheduled for June 12.

Farmers' groups and activists in India had urged their government to intervene, saying their rights to grow and sell registered crops are protected under the country's agricultural laws.

In a letter to the India's Ministry of Agriculture, 194 activists called the lawsuit from the food and beverage giant "false and untenable," according to India Today. "We believe that the intimidation and legal harassment of farmers is happening because farmers are not fully aware of (their) rights," they wrote.

First published on April 26, 2019 / 12:33 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

PepsiCo sues small farmers in India over potatoes for Lays chips

Conglomerate says it holds exclusive rights to grow a specific variety of spud, prompting outcry from farming activists

7M ago

Trump: Kids "have to get their shots" amid measles outbreak

"They have to get their shots, the vaccinations are so important," Trump urged on Friday, in contrast with past statements he has made suggesting a possible link between vaccinations and autism

56M ago

How to get an "emotional boost" when giving to others

Spending money on others can make you happy, but there's more to it than that, a professor explains in a TED Talk

58M ago

Trump tells NRA crowd he "didn't need a gun" to address attempted "coup" — live updates

The president claims the Mueller investigation was an attempted overthrow of the government

updated 4M ago

Ford's vehicle emissions under criminal investigation

The automaker is alleged to have overstated gas mileage and understated emissions of pollutants in some of its vehicles

1H ago

Trump: Kids "have to get their shots" amid measles outbreak

"They have to get their shots, the vaccinations are so important," Trump urged on Friday, in contrast with past statements he has made suggesting a possible link between vaccinations and autism

56M ago

Trump tells NRA crowd he "didn't need a gun" to address attempted "coup" — live updates

The president claims the Mueller investigation was an attempted overthrow of the government

updated 4M ago

Congresswoman talks plan to grant health coverage to more

Unlike some of her more progressive colleagues, Rep. Lauren Underwood is looking to reform the system, not replace it

2H ago

Five new cosponsors sign onto House impeachment resolution

Rep. Rashida Tlaib introduced a resolution to impeach President Trump before the release of the special counsel report

2H ago

Trump's comments after Mueller report release could be used by Congress

"He's creating a very important factual dispute that Congress has no choice but to investigate"

3H ago

PepsiCo sues small farmers in India over potatoes for Lays chips

Conglomerate says it holds exclusive rights to grow a specific variety of spud, prompting outcry from farming activists

7M ago

Daimler says it has "no idea" how Kim Jong Un got Mercedes limos

The German automaker says it has no business dealings with North Korea, which is banned from buying luxury goods

4H ago

Tourist kidnapped in Uganda says her captors were also her protectors

Kimberly Endicott tells Gayle King she ended up feeling compassion for the men who took her

4H ago

2nd killer cyclone could dump twice as much rain on Mozambique

Cyclone Kenneth has already left a woman dead, but the nightmare of the 2nd storm to hit the country in just 6 weeks is only beginning

4H ago

Climate change worsens economic inequality, scientists say

Global warming has harmful effects on the economies of hot countries, but boosts the GDP of colder countries

5H ago

Entertainment

"Avengers: Endgame" shatters presale ticket records

The 22nd Marvel movie is out and it's broken records for presale tickets. Erik Davis, managing editor at Fandango, joined CBSN to discuss "Avengers: Endgame."

1H ago 07:06

Marvel fans prepped for "Avengers: Endgame" with epic movie marathon

12 theaters across the country played all 21 Marvel movies leading up to the release of "Avengers: Endgame"

2H ago

Excerpt: "Furious Hours," about Harper Lee's true crime investigation

Casey Cep's new book explores a series of mysterious deaths in Alabama, and how the author famed for "To Kill a Mockingbird" spent years writing about it

2H ago

Review: "If the Dancer Dances," on recreating a Merce Cunningham masterwork

Maia Wechsler's marvelous documentary captures the toil and triumph of one troupe's efforts to restage a classic of modern dance

3H ago

Fans pack theaters for Marvel movie marathon

Before "Avengers: Endgame" premiered to fans across the country Friday, 12 theaters screened all 21 Marvel movies that came before it. Vladimir Duthiers takes us inside one of those marathons in New York City.

4H ago 04:17

Uber dials back expectations as its preps for massive IPO

Ridesharing company expects to be valued at upwards of $90 billion when it goes public, lower than previous estimates

4H ago

Uber IPO could net Travis Kalanick nearly $9 billion

Entrepreneur was ousted as CEO nearly two years ago, but he still owns more Uber stock than anyone

6H ago

Amazon plans to launch free one-day shipping

Amazon expects to spend $800 million next quarter to make the transition

14H ago

SpaceX mishap investigation continues

Engineers continue to collect data, high-speed imagery and recovered hardware in wake of SpaceX mishap

15H ago

Facebook is cracking down on personality quizzes

A year after Cambridge Analytica scandal, the social-media giant says it may ban some apps with "minimal utility"

18H ago

Climate change worsens economic inequality, scientists say

Global warming has harmful effects on the economies of hot countries, but boosts the GDP of colder countries

5H ago

Chinese scientists insert human brain gene into monkeys

The experiments could create a new kind of monkey — and a big ethical dilemma

12H ago

SpaceX mishap investigation continues

Engineers continue to collect data, high-speed imagery and recovered hardware in wake of SpaceX mishap

15H ago

Satellite images show emperor penguins suffered breeding failure

Emperor penguins have long endured the brutal conditions of Antarctica. But now satellite imagery shows for the past three years, their second largest colony has suffered a catastrophic breeding failure. Chip Reid explains.

17H ago 01:32

Antarctic emperor penguins experiencing "unprecedented" breeding failure

"There had been no previously recorded instances of total breeding failure at the site," study says

17H ago

Can drunk sex ever be consensual?

Heavy drinking and sexual activity often go together on college campuses, and that's a troubling dynamic

4H ago

Hundreds of college students quarantined amid measles outbreak

Officials at UCLA said a student with measles attended classes for three days, potentially putting hundreds at risk

5H ago

Trump administration "gag order" on Planned Parenthood blocked

The changes — which would have banned clinics from referring patients to abortion clinics — were set to go into effect next week

16H ago

N.Y. county issues 2nd state of emergency over measles outbreak

After the outbreak began in October, more than 19,400 vaccines have been administered in Rockland County and nearly 200 cases of measles have been confirmed

19H ago

Spanish-speaking women fighting cancer form sisterhood

Grupo Morivivi thrives because of its resilience

Apr 25

PepsiCo sues small farmers in India over potatoes for Lays chips

Conglomerate says it holds exclusive rights to grow a specific variety of spud, prompting outcry from farming activists

7M ago

Climate change worsens economic inequality, scientists say

Global warming has harmful effects on the economies of hot countries, but boosts the GDP of colder countries

5H ago

Ford's vehicle emissions under criminal investigation

The automaker is alleged to have overstated gas mileage and understated emissions of pollutants in some of its vehicles

1H ago

Uber IPO could net Travis Kalanick nearly $9 billion

Entrepreneur was ousted as CEO nearly two years ago, but he still owns more Uber stock than anyone

6H ago

U.S. economy hit the gas in the first quarter

GDP growth topped analysts' expectations, easing fears of an imminent economic slowdown

3H ago

Excerpt: "Furious Hours," about Harper Lee's true crime investigation

Casey Cep's new book explores a series of mysterious deaths in Alabama, and how the author famed for "To Kill a Mockingbird" spent years writing about it

2H ago

Judge charged with helping man escape ICE through back door

Massachusetts judge was indicted on charges that she helped a man who was living in the U.S. illegally sneak out a back door of the courthouse to evade a waiting immigration enforcement agent

6H ago

Fake heiress accused of bilking New York City's elite convicted of fraud

Anna Sorokin faces up to 15 years in prison on the most serious charge

14H ago

Coroner confirms cause of death for boy found in shallow grave

The Illinois boy's remains were found buried after his parents reported him missing — both are charged with murder

17H ago

Ex-cop gets 25 years in killing of black driver waiting for tow

For the first time in nearly 30 years, a Florida police officer has been sentenced to prison for an on-duty fatal shooting

18H ago

NASA just detected the first "marsquake"

For the first time since its mission began, NASA's InSight lander has detected what scientists believe to be a marsquake

Apr 23

"Marfa Martians" sending their science experiment to space

The team, made up of 10 and 11-year-olds, want to find a way to kill bacteria in space

Apr 22

SpaceX suffers Crew Dragon engine test anomaly

SpaceX suffers engine "anomaly" in Crew Dragon test vehicle during Cape Canaveral engine test

Apr 20

Evidence found for first molecule in the universe

"This molecule was lurking out there, but we needed the right instruments," a top NASA scientist said

Apr 17

Watch: Rocket launches cargo to space station

An Antares rocket blasted off from the Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia carrying a Cygnus cargo ship loaded with supplies for the International Space Station.

Apr 17 01:45

New on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon

Shows and movies you'll want to stream soon

12H ago 36 photos

Jason Corbett murder: A look at the evidence

In August 2015, former FBI agent Tom Martens and his daughter Molly Corbett admitted killing her Irish-born husband Jason Corbett, insisting they beat him in self-defense with a brick paver and a baseball bat because Jason was choking Molly and threatening to kill her

Apr 20 11 photos

Photos: Fire burns Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

On April 15, 2019 flames erupted at the landmark cathedral, the most-visited landmark in the French capital

Apr 16 46 photos

Star Wars Celebration 2019

The four-day convention for fans of the Star Wars saga, held in Chicago, included cosplayers, panels with the filmmakers, and the debut of the trailer for Episode IX of the series

Apr 13 39 photos

Awkward Easter Bunny photos

Children love the Easter Bunny – until they meet him

Apr 12 35 photos

Popular

Chick-fil-A delivers to boy in hospital

All this boy wanted before brain surgery was Chick-fil-A, but it was Sunday and they were closed. His nurse pulled a few strings and got his favorite food delivered to his hospital room.

updated 5M ago 01:59

What to stream this weekend

TV Guide editor Krutika Mallijarjuna joins CBSN to talk about the best shows to stream this weekend: "Chambers," "Street Food," and "The Red Line"

updated 56M ago 08:05

"Avengers: Endgame" shatters presale ticket records

The 22nd Marvel movie is out and it's broken records for presale tickets. Erik Davis, managing editor at Fandango, joined CBSN to discuss "Avengers: Endgame."

1H ago 07:06

Tech companies' business model is prioritizing money over user safety

As attacks like those that unfolded recently in New Zealand and Sri Lanka happen more frequently, more critics have blamed social media for not doing enough to control extreme content. But some experts say the extremism is baked into the algorithm. CNET senior producer Dan Patterson explained how that algorithm works and why it's essential to the business models of social media platforms.

1H ago 05:37

CBSN Originals explores sex education

CBSN Originals speaks to students and advocates who say the issue of sexual consent was never taught in health class. CBSN Originals producer Cydney Adams discusses how educating students can help prevent sexual assault later in life.

updated 26M ago 06:09