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Swiss authorised record number of ‘banned’ pesticides last yearqrcode

Jan. 4, 2024

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Jan. 4, 2024

In 2023, some 30 previously banned substances were exceptionally authorised by federal authorities, as a means of tackling growing menaces to agricultural crops.

Thierry Blaser observes the same thing every year when walking through his rapeseed field. ″Insect pests sting the rape and lay their larvae. The plant then gets deformed and can no longer produce as it should,″ the farmer told RTS public radio on Tuesday.

To kill the insects and produce his 15 tonnes of rapeseed, there was only one solution for Blaser: protection products. The problem is that the number of authorised substances is constantly decreasing. Since 2005, 208 products have been withdrawn from the market.

Blaser says that ″if we don’t grant these authorisations, we won’t have any production″.

However, under pressure from farmers, the Federal Office for Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs (FOSV) authorised the emergency use of 29 previously banned substances in 2023 – a record number. By way of comparison, in 2019 the OSAV authorised just 6.

For Serge Imboden, a researcher at the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland (HES-SO), such authorisations are a way of reducing dependence on neighbouring countries, particularly Germany and France.

″There are more and more factors which mean we have to fight more and more pests and diseases. To maintain a degree of self-sufficiency, they’re trying to import plant protection products.″

According to Green Party parliamentarian from Geneva Delphine Klopfenstein, the solution lies elsewhere. ″Today, if we are to produce enough, we also have to consider that some of what we produce is thrown away. We need to combat this food waste and bring production back into balance with consumption.″

Swiss agricultural production currently enables the country to feed some 50% of the population.

Source: Swissinfo.ch


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