Home Farm Equipment Swiss Voters Reject Proposal to Ban Synthetic Pesticides

Swiss Voters Reject Proposal to Ban Synthetic Pesticides

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ZURICH — Voters in Switzerland on Sunday overwhelmingly rejected a measure that may have banned the usage of synthetic pesticides in Switzerland, stopping their use in farms and gardens, and prohibited the import of produce and merchandise made utilizing them.

The rejection of the measure, which had loved appreciable assist in current months, mirrored robust opposition from the Swiss farming sector and the federal government, which mentioned approval would have meant decrease farm manufacturing and better meals costs. However public assist for curbing pesticides additionally prompted the federal government to provide you with a counterproposal that may halve the dangers related to the usage of pesticides inside six years.

The initiative had been proposed by Future 3, a residents group that’s pushing for a pesticide-free Switzerland. The group’s spokesman, Dominik Waser, mentioned the primary motivation was defending the well being of individuals and the surroundings.

“Pesticides have a huge influence on our health and it can’t carry on like this,” he mentioned. Whereas the long-term affect of the chemical substances just isn’t but totally recognized, research have prompt hyperlinks between artificial pesticides and a variety of well being points together with Parkinson’s and infertility.

Mr. Waser additionally cited doable ecological points related to the spraying of artificial pesticides.

Whereas a good portion of natural farmers have been in favor of the initiative, the vast majority of farmers working the 50,000 farms in Switzerland strongly opposed it.

Martin Rufer, the director of the Swiss Farmers Affiliation, mentioned a complete ban on artificial pesticides would have been “unrealistic” and have main penalties for the agricultural sector and the nation. He mentioned farmers wished to use much less pesticides, however that there have been not sufficient viable options to cease fully.

Mr. Rufer predicted that farm manufacturing would have slumped by 20 p.c to 30 p.c had the measure handed, forcing the alpine nation to import extra meals to make up for the distinction. “Food consumption would stay the same,” he mentioned.

David Jacobsen is one Swiss farmer who has been pushing for a pesticide ban.

“We don’t spray away our problems,” mentioned Mr. Jacobsen, standing subsequent to a inexperienced area of wheat sprinkled with poppies at his 125-hectare farm, Intestine Rheinau, close to Zurich.

His farm, which he co-owns, has been producing natural grains, greens and fruits with out the usage of artificial pesticides for greater than 20 years. Utilizing the chemical substances, he mentioned, “would decrease our biodiversity and make us dependent because if you use synthetic pesticides once, you have to keep using them.”

As a substitute, Mr. Jacobsen and his colleagues use crop varieties extra resistant to bugs and fungi, and have developed methods of rising to improve their yield naturally.

The Swiss authorities had urged voters to reject the proposal, fearing {that a} lower in agricultural output would push up meals costs. It additionally warned {that a} full ban would trigger extra individuals to cross the border to purchase groceries in neighboring nations.

Man Parmelin, the president of Switzerland and a former grain farmer and wine grower, mentioned the way in which pesticides have been being utilized in Switzerland had tremendously modified lately. “More and more so-called conventional farmers are using products authorized in organic farming,” he mentioned.

Mr. Parmelin mentioned gross sales of artificial pesticides in Switzerland have been lowering because of options like mechanical weeding or the implementation of extra sustainable crops.

The initiative was additionally opposed by the nation’s chocolate business, which depends closely on imported components, reminiscent of cacao. “We agree with the initiative’s core aim to reduce the use of pesticides,” mentioned Urs Furrer, the director of the Swiss Chocolate Producers Affiliation, Chocosuisse.

However Mr. Furrer mentioned the affiliation felt the federal government counterproposal — to halve the dangers related to the usage of artificial pesticides by 2027 — was a extra life like strategy.

Had the referendum been accepted, Mr. Furrer mentioned the value of Swiss chocolate, which might by default have turn out to be natural, would have elevated and that Switzerland’s share of the worldwide chocolate market would shrink.

“The market for organic chocolate is too small,” he mentioned.

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