Four NGOs plead for a change in agricultural policy

Four NGOs plead for a change in agricultural policy

“Stop agribusiness”: this is the name of the campaign launched by four organizations against intensive agriculture, which “depletes” the soil and water in Switzerland.

Agriculture and the environment do not always go hand in hand.

Agriculture and the environment do not always go hand in hand.

The environmental organizations WWF Switzerland, Pro Natura, Greenpeace and BirdLife are launching a campaign on Sunday entitled “Stop agribusiness”. The Swiss will soon have to vote on three initiatives related to agriculture and the environment.

Over-fertilization, use of pesticides, reduction in biodiversity: intensive agriculture “depletes” the soil and water in Switzerland. “It is not sustainable,” said four green NGOs in a statement Sunday.

Parliament will be debating this over the next few months. “It now has the opportunity to place environmental concerns at the forefront of its deliberations on future agricultural policy (PA 22+),” says Eva Wyss, Agriculture project manager at WWF Switzerland.

Environmental objectives not met

All the more so since none of the thirteen environmental objectives for agriculture (AEO), defined in 2008, have been achieved. In the case of the environmental impact of ammonia inputs, greenhouse gases, phytosanitary products and fertilizers, hardly any progress has been made over the past 20 years, assess the four NGOs.

In almost all species groups, biodiversity loss on agricultural land continues. The constant decrease in the density of flowering plants thus threatens many species of insects, which risk starving, according to them.

Who notes, however, that since 2008, there has been little progress in the scale of areas for promoting biodiversity and the space reserved for watercourses.

Wrong way

“Incentives are now completely on the wrong track,” says Marcel Liner, Agricultural Policy project manager at Pro Natura. According to him, “it is unacceptable that direct payments keep alive an agriculture that does not meet the environmental objectives set, which endangers our health and biodiversity.”

And Alexandra Gavilano, Agriculture and Climate project manager at Greenpeace added: “As Switzerland cannot feed the many animals with its own resources, it is dependent on its fodder imports. Agriculture not adapted to the place – this includes intensive livestock farming and monocultures for the production of food for these animals – destroys important ecosystems at home and abroad. ”

High stakes

The subject is delicate, all the more so as the Swiss will have to vote on several initiatives related to agriculture, for which the voting date has not yet been set: “For clean drinking water and healthy food – No subsidies for the use of pesticides and the use of antibiotics for prophylaxis ”, filed in January 2018; “For a Switzerland free of synthetic pesticides”, May 2018; “No to intensive farming in Switzerland (initiative on intensive farming)”, September 2019.

Other initiatives are still in the pipeline, at the stage of collecting signatures. The youth also made their voices heard on the climate before the pandemic, taking to the streets several times in the footsteps of the young Swedish Greta Thunberg.

On the campaign’s website is a call to sign for sustainable agriculture. Farmers and representatives of cultural, sports and political circles have already joined.


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