The referendum’s aegis was “For a Switzerland free from synthetic pesticides,” and the Alpine nation on Sunday rejected proposals that would have made it the first EU country to ban synthetic pesticides. Under a direct democracy system, referendums or popular votes occur every few months at all nation’s levels.
In a foreseeable future, there will be no significant changes for the landscape for Swiss farming, according to the referendum’s results. On Sunday, a double majority of voters and cantons is required to push through popular initiatives and with results declared so far in 22 of the 23 full cantons, a majority in 21 have said no to the plans.
Across Europe, no major country has so far banned man-made pesticides, The Local Switzerland reports on Monday. The only country is Bhutan, in fact. In 2012, the government wanted to become the first to turn its home-grown food and farmers 100 percent organic. Meantime, the Swiss vote on two anti-pesticide proposals was the culmination of a campaign marked by heated discussions.
There were two popular initiatives such as:
- “For a Switzerland free from synthetic pesticides”, called for a domestic ban within 10 years, and the outlawing of imported foodstuffs produced using such pesticides;
- “For clean drinking water and healthy food”, only farms that do not use pesticides and use antibiotics only to treat sick animals would be eligible for government subsidies.
The Swiss government called for a double “No” vote, arguing that the proposals would undermine national food sovereignty.