Dossiers - Agricultural initiatives
Explanation of terms relating to two anti-pesticide initiatives
The drinking water and ban on pesticides initiatives both want to drastically reduce or even ban the use of important production means. The approval of these initiatives would have far-reaching consequences for Switzerland. scienceindustries is convinced that innovation is the key to nature-friendly food production and that our industries are among the world's leaders in this respect.
The popular initiative "Save Switzerland from synthetic pesticides" (ban on pesticides initiative) calls for a ban on synthetic pesticides. The popular initiative "Clean drinking water and healthy food – no subsidies for the use of pesticides and prophylactic antibiotics" (drinking water initiative) is targeting the flow of money: only farmers who refrain from using plant protection products, prophylactic antibiotics and bought-in fodder should receive direct subsidies.
Both initiatives are extreme and will directly harm consumers as reduced supply would lead to massive price increases for food and restrict their freedom of choice, in particular with regard to Swiss and regional foods. A ban on biocides, which include many cleaning products and disinfectants also poses an acute threat to hygiene in food production and thus food security.
Switzerland has a long tradition of research and development of medicinal products, chemical specialities and life sciences products. The innovations developed by Swiss companies help ensure that plant protection becomes ever safer and more sustainable. Bans or incentives to refrain from using plant protection products send negative signals to an important and successful research industry. The initiatives would also harm public research: if approved, research to improve the efficient use of plant protection products would no longer qualify for subsidies or would actually be forbidden in Switzerland.
At present, our industry relies heavily on research and innovation, and nature-friendliness and sustainability play a central role here. The real and sustainable reduction of the risks posed by plant protection products can be achieved by using more modern ingredients and improved recognition and application technologies and by providing training and specialist advice for users. The Confederation's action plan for plant protection products addresses these issues with specific and expedient measures. Our member companies are directly involved in some of these projects.
Used correctly, plant protection products protect our plants and ensure a diverse selection of healthy food in our shops. Innovation ensures that people and nature will benefit from modern plant protection techniques, while a ban would deliver absolutely nothing. scienceindustries therefore decisively rejects both initiatives.