Home > News > Pesticides: The Swiss popular vote reminds us that citizens have the ultimate say

On June 13, 2021, Swiss citizens are called to vote for the outlawing of synthetic pesticides. A citizens’ initiative, turned referendum, supported and endorsed by Navdanya International on the path towards a true agrofood systems transition. In case the ‘Yes’ vote should win, the ban would extend from agriculture, to private use, and to the import and marketing of foodstuffs containing synthetic chemicals. Voters will also have to decide on the proposal to remove public subsidies for farmers who are not willing to convert to ecological production practices.

The initiative holds significant symbolic value as Switzerland is home to one of the most powerful agribusiness corporations in the world, Syngenta. Recently acquired by ChemChina, Syngenta was recently at the center of the Paraquat Papers scandal, named after the herbicide produced by the company and considered one of the most toxic and dangerous in the world.

The Swiss initiative is intended to inspire similar actions in other countries.

The president of Navdanya International, Vandana Shiva, commented: “We are members of one Earth family. Poisons and pesticides kill insects and biodiversity, they are destroying the infrastructure of life. Poisons are causing a health emergency, as chronic diseases such as cancer, autism, infertility are connected to toxins in food and environmental pollution. Through knowledge manipulation and propaganda, the Poison Cartel also undermines independent science and threatens democracy by trying to silence citizens’ efforts towards pesticide-free communities. The health of the planet, her biodiversity, our health makes poison-free food and farming a survival  imperative. As our work in Navdanya over 3 decades has shown, we can grow more and better food through biodiversity-intensive, chemical-free organic farming. I congratulate and support the Swiss Referendum as a significant step towards Earth Democracy to defend the rights of the biodiversity of species, including all human beings. Poison free food and farming is our birthright.”

Navdanya International

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