With Insect Network and Intakes: Two Initiatives Invite Switzerland Without Pesticides 2

With Insect Network and Intakes: Two Initiatives Invite Switzerland Without Pesticides

This is a permanent defense struggle, farmer Walter Stettler protects his cherries. Cherry vinegar flies, leaf ears, birds – they all reap the harvest. Even the rain is a problem: cherries today need to be large and crispy, so they are desirable.

As a result, they are so sensitive that they will quickly explode when the rain falls. However, Stettler puts most of the vinegar on cherry. "Actually, I would have to inject another insecticide right before harvest," he says. "I do not want to do it."

Up and down in the country, pest control pests farmers. In this way, they resort to those tools that are currently causing a political dispute: pesticides. Every year, in Switzerland, it sells more than 2,000 tons. The means serve their purpose, but they arrive wherever they are supposed to be, in streams and underground waters.

Farmer Walter Stettler shows his cherry plantation protected by a network.

Farmer Walter Stettler shows his cherry plantation protected by a network.

Two popular initiatives want to limit the use of pesticides: one calls for ban on synthetic pesticides; The Drinking Water Initiative, in turn, wants farmers using pesticides to reduce their direct payments. The National Council on Thursday decides that the result is foreseeable: it will reject both initiatives, just as the Federal Council and the Farmers' Association do. Instead, they use a non-binding action plan for plant protection to reduce the use of pesticides.

See also: Paul Sicher, spokesman for the Drinking Water Association, in an interview

No access to insects

How this can work in practice shows a visit to Walter Stettler. Its farm is located in a small hamlet of Flugbrunnen in Canton Bern, surrounded by green meadows nesting along the hills. Stettler grew up on the farm, and nowadays, the 60-year-old, together with his wife and son, builds cherries, apples, plums and other fruits on 3.5 hectares, which is just below five football pitches. Many pesticides are used in Switzerland. Stettler – jeans, blue striped polo shirt, over her gray fur jacket – is not an organic farmer. But he is trying not to use pesticides if there are other good solutions.

With Insect Network and Intakes: Two Initiatives Invite Switzerland Without Pesticides 3
With Insect Network and Intakes: Two Initiatives Invite Switzerland Without Pesticides 4