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Dramatic drop in approved pesticides
Media

Dramatic drop in approved pesticides

Fewer and fewer pesticides are available to Swiss farmers. Many active ingredients are disappearing from the market. At the same time, the Swiss authorities are approving very few new ones. The Swiss Farmers’ Union is therefore calling for an end to the current approval procedure. Otherwise, a decline in domestic food production may ensue.

Industry-funded research increases the yields of important crop plants
Media

Industry-funded research increases the yields of important crop plants

Grains such as rice, wheat, and corn provide the majority of the calories consumed across the globe. Crop plants such as tef or cassava, on the other hand, have previously been rather overlooked. However, research progress has now made cultivating them a more attractive prospect. This is particularly important given climate change.

Philippines: Farmers Harvest the First Golden Rice
Media

Philippines: Farmers Harvest the First Golden Rice

The world’s first Golden Rice harvest recently took place in the Philippines. The rice is enriched with a beta carotene gene, which can be converted into vitamin A in the human body. The aim is to bring an end to the widespread vitamin A deficiencies in developing countries. But there has been and still is massive resistance to growing it.

Supply Reliability Increasing in Importance
Media

Supply Reliability Increasing in Importance

The Swiss are satisfied with the state of domestic agriculture. However, supply reliability has become more important. These are the findings of a representative survey that the Federal Office for Agriculture published with its Agricultural Report 2022.

40% drop in yields: Does this spell the end for turnip lanterns?
Media

40% drop in yields: Does this spell the end for turnip lanterns?

The traditional Räbeliechtli (turnip lantern) parades are taking place again in November. However, according to the “Aargauer Zeitung”, farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to produce the turnips. As key plant protection products are being taken off the market, the turnips are less and less well protected against pests and diseases.

Genome editing: United Kingdom on its way to the top
Media

Genome editing: United Kingdom on its way to the top

The British Parliament is planning to pass a law that will provide new legislation for new breeding technologies, such as genome editing. This new legislation will pave the way for Great Britain to become a leading figure in agri-food research.

Lack of plant protection resulting in declining cultivation of Brussels sprouts
Media

Lack of plant protection resulting in declining cultivation of Brussels sprouts

It is becoming increasingly difficult to cultivate Brussels sprouts in Switzerland. The areas in which they are cultivated have been shrinking for several years. The reason for this is the steadily declining number of approved plant protection products.

According to the Director of the Federal Office for Agriculture, “every second meal is imported”
Media

According to the Director of the Federal Office for Agriculture, “every second meal is imported”

The coronavirus pandemic, the Ukraine war and the energy crisis have all brought the vulnerability of supply chains into sharp relief. In an interview with the Tages-Anzeiger, the Director of the Federal Office for Agriculture, Christian Hofer, warns against becoming too dependent on food imports. Switzerland must take care of its food security.

Could bread soon be unrecognizable?
Media

Could bread soon be unrecognizable?

The history of bread is closely linked to the cultivation of different varieties of wheat. Human optimization of bread-making wheat has made a huge contribution to the development of civilization as a whole. However, in order to continue the development of wheat cultivation and feed more people, new technologies are required, such as green biotechnology. But significant obstacles remain.

Nobel prize laureate Nüsslein-Volhard: “Genetic engineering offers major opportunities for environmental protection”
Media

Nobel prize laureate Nüsslein-Volhard: “Genetic engineering offers major opportunities for environmental protection”

Genetically modified plants are not cultivated in Europe, an approach criticized by Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard as anti-scientific and ideology-driven.

EU Agriculture Ministers Call for Greater Openness to “Gene Scissors”
Media

EU Agriculture Ministers Call for Greater Openness to “Gene Scissors”

The majority of agriculture ministers in the European Union see new plant breeding technologies as the key to strengthening food security. They are therefore calling for a reassessment of the rules governing the approval of new genetic engineering techniques. These new genetic engineering methods may also bring fresh impetus to attempts to combat food waste.

Organic products more frequently affected by recalls
Media

Organic products more frequently affected by recalls

Organic products have to be taken off retailers’ shelves at an above-average rate. The reason for this is toxins from plants harvested together with the organic produce or from molds. They can be controlled less well in organic agriculture than in conventional agriculture.

Double Benefit: Electricity and Nutrition from the Land
Media

Double Benefit: Electricity and Nutrition from the Land

The demand for both food and electricity is set to increase dramatically in future. Concurrently, there will be less free space available. So why don’t we use arable land to produce both food and electricity at the same time? This would be possible using solar panels that produce electricity several meters above the ground. Plants that need shady conditions could grow beneath them.

Little water and salty soil
Media

Little water and salty soil

The Po Valley is one of the most important agricultural areas in Italy. But the Po currently lacks water. The fields have dried up. The region must expect regular water shortages in the future. In addition, the soil is becoming more and more salty. A glimmer of hope comes from Southeast Asia, where salt-resistant rice varieties are braving the saline soils.

Europe is suffering from severe drought
Media

Europe is suffering from severe drought

This summer, large parts of Europe have received less rainfall than at almost any other time in their history. A phenomenon we are set to see occur ever more frequently in future. The trend in Switzerland is also pointing towards more drought. This poses an enormous challenge for agriculture. With a drought early warning system, farmers should, in future, have better opportunities to plan for these eventualities.

Green genetic engineering: A rethink is required
Media

Green genetic engineering: A rethink is required

There are now more skeptics than ever before when it comes to biotechnological plant breeding methods, despite 30 years of research having produced a clear data basis. Conventional genetic engineering or the more modern CRISPR/Cas method present no increased risks compared to traditional breeding methods, such as cross-breeding.

Sri Lanka: Pesticide ban with disastrous consequences
Media

Sri Lanka: Pesticide ban with disastrous consequences

As Sri Lanka experiences its worst economic crisis in 70 years, the population is protesting against the country’s political leaders and the disastrous situation surrounding the supply of basic necessities. One significant contributing factor to this predicament is last year’s decision by the government to ban pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, which resulted in poor harvests and soaring food prices.

Approval backlog due to environmental organizations
Media

Approval backlog due to environmental organizations

Swiss farmers are less and less able to protect their crops against pests and fungal diseases. This is reported by the "Nebelspalter". The number of approved crop protection active ingredients has decreased drastically since 2005.

Content in German

A war over food
Media

A war over food

400 million people worldwide are supplied with grain from Ukraine, many of them in North Africa and the Middle East. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is sounding the alarm.

Consumption of organic meat declining
Media

Consumption of organic meat declining

The Swiss are eating less and less meat that is marked with a special label. At the same time, per capita consumption of meat is increasing again for the first time in a long time. This is the result of an analysis by Swiss Animal Welfare (STS).

Africa: 500 million people without water security
Media

Africa: 500 million people without water security

Around one third of the people on the African continent live without safe access to water. According to the United Nations, even in the most water-rich regions of the continent there is insufficient water security. In addition, the large groundwater reserves in Africa are virtually unused. In the most recent World Water Report, the UN therefore calls for intelligent use of groundwater.

Viticulture: Fungus-resistant grape (FRG) varieties need plant protection too
Media

Viticulture: Fungus-resistant grape (FRG) varieties need plant protection too

The wet summer of 2021 caused extensive damage to Switzerland’s vineyards. Fungal diseases such as downy mildew, in particular, took their toll on the grapevines. A survey conducted by the cantonal offices for viticulture in German-speaking Switzerland shows that FRG varieties are also affected by downy mildew and require plant protection products to protect the crop.

Long Periods of Drought Endangering the Food Supply
Media

Long Periods of Drought Endangering the Food Supply

The drought from 2018 to 2020 was the worst in the last 250 years. This is the finding of researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research. As a result of climate change, future droughts could last for as long as 20 years, which would have profound consequences for agriculture and the world’s food supply. Meanwhile, countries like Switzerland are still ill- prepared for the threat of such droughts.

Gene Editing for Stronger Supply Security in the UK
Media

Gene Editing for Stronger Supply Security in the UK

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to a scarcity of wheat and big price increases for the staple on agricultural commodity markets. The United Kingdom wants to strengthen its domestic supply security by relying on more resistant crops. With this aim in mind, plans call for passing a new law that would allow cultivation of gene-edited plants. Agricultural productivity is once again becoming increasingly important in European countries. Switzerland also needs to produce more.

Eating as a pseudo-religion
Media

Eating as a pseudo-religion

Prof. Thomas Ellrott from the Georg-August-University in Göttingen spoke at an event of the branch organization Swisscofel about food as a pseudo-religion His thesis: Eating is no longer just the simple intake of calories. Today, food is a lifestyle product that people use to showcase themselves. It's about identity. And to be on the "right side".

Wheat production: Heat wave in India exacerbates global supply situation
Media

Wheat production: Heat wave in India exacerbates global supply situation

South Asia is currently being hit by an exceptional heat wave. This is threatening the harvests of many farmers. India has therefore imposed an export ban on wheat. The country is the second largest producer of wheat in the world. This is likely to exacerbate the already tense situation on the agricultural markets caused by the war in Ukraine.

Artificial fertilizer is becoming scarce
Media

Artificial fertilizer is becoming scarce

The Russian war on Ukraine is having a devastating impact on global agriculture. The two countries produce large quantities of wheat for the world market. Russia is also one of the most important producers of fertilizers. These are now threatening to become scarce.

«We’re already in the middle of a grain supply crisis»
Media

«We’re already in the middle of a grain supply crisis»

Werner Baumann has led the German agrochemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer since 2016. In an interview with the "NZZ", he explains what the Ukraine war means for his company and the food supply.

The United Kingdom paves the way for the cultivation of genome-edited plants
Media

The United Kingdom paves the way for the cultivation of genome-edited plants

The British Parliament has passed a law that facilitates the cultivation of genome-edited plants.

Switzerland needs to import more bread grain
Media

Switzerland needs to import more bread grain

The industry organisation Swiss Granum has applied to the Federal Government for an increase in the import quota for bread grain. Last year's domestic crop yields and stocks are not sufficient to meet this year's demand.

Feed additive against global warming
Media

Feed additive against global warming

The methane emissions of farm animals contribute significantly to global warming. DSM is now bringing to market a feed additive that significantly reduces methane emissions from cows.

War in Ukraine threatens sowing
Media

War in Ukraine threatens sowing

Anyone who wants to harvest must sow. But the war in Ukraine threatens the sowing of important crops and jeopardizes the global food supply.

The conflict in Ukraine forces us to look beyond our own borders
Media

The conflict in Ukraine forces us to look beyond our own borders

The war between Ukraine and Russia threatens the food supply of many countries and is expected to have a strong impact on food prices. Markus Ritter, president of the Swiss farmers' Association, therefore calls for more domestic production – not least out of solidarity with poorer countries.

Sustainable intensification for a resilient food system
Media

Sustainable intensification for a resilient food system

In a position paper, the German FDP calls for a reorientation of European agricultural policy. Instead of an extensification of agriculture, an “ecological intensification” should take place.

Plant charcoal for soil and climate
Media

Plant charcoal for soil and climate

Farmers in Zug produce coal from plant waste to fertilize their soils and extract carbon from the atmosphere. They recently received the Federal Energy Award Watt d'or for their pioneering work. We congratulate them.

Urban beekeeping is endangering biodiversity
Media

Urban beekeeping is endangering biodiversity

Beekeeping is booming in Swiss cities. Urban residents want to make a contribution to the conservation of the honeybee. However, a study by the WSL research institute shows that the amateur beekeeping is not sustainable. It endangers biodiversity in cities, as honey bees increasingly displace wild insects.

The wind in the genetic debate is turning
Media

The wind in the genetic debate is turning

Politics and business are increasingly opening up to new breeding methods such as genome editing. Until recently, this would have been unthinkable. The change of opinion has to do with the voices from science, which are now slowly becoming heard.

Five myths about pesticides
Media

Five myths about pesticides

The Austrian "Kronen Zeitung" clears up five myths about the use of pesticides in agriculture. With regard to toxicity, what the doctor Paracelsus knew still applies today: The dose makes the poison.

Poor potato harvest in 2021 leads to imports
Media

Poor potato harvest in 2021 leads to imports

The 2021 potato harvest looks poor. The miserable weather affected the tubers and led to large harvest and quality losses in some cases. This also affects the production of chips and french fries. In addition, more potatoes are being imported.

French winegrowers plead for new breeding methods
Media

French winegrowers plead for new breeding methods

In order to be able to provide traditional grape varieties with resistance to mildew and drought, French winemakers are calling for approval of genome editing in viticulture. Instead of breeding new varieties in lengthy processes, Gene Scissors can be used to optimize wine varieties that are popular with consumers.

Meat alternatives still too expensive
Media

Meat alternatives still too expensive

Meat substitutes are being prominently advertised during "Veganuary". However, these are often much more expensive in the store than the original products made of real meat.

Nobel laureate endorses genetic scissors in plant breeding
Media

Nobel laureate endorses genetic scissors in plant breeding

In an opinion piece in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Nobel laureate Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard argues the case for using the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors in plant breeding, even in organic farming. In her view, genome editing brings numerous benefits, especially when it comes to nature conservation and species protection.

Less honey - rising prices
Media

Less honey - rising prices

The cold spring and wet summer had a massive impact on bees and honey production. Compared to last year, harvest volumes have really collapsed this year. Swiss honey is becoming a scarce commodity and prices are likely to rise.

Content in German

Many groceries are becoming more expensive
Media

Many groceries are becoming more expensive

The meagre harvests of last summer will have an effect well into the new year. Rising raw material prices are leading to sometimes significant price increases in stores. Dairy and wheat products such as bread and pasta are particularly affected.

Swiss carrots and onions are in short supply
Media

Swiss carrots and onions are in short supply

Switzerland is in danger of running out of home-grown baby carrots and onions by the spring. This is due to the poor weather conditions last summer. It was not possible to begin sowing storage vegetables until far too late. Stocks are running low.

Vegetarian products have a bad reputation among consumers
Media

Vegetarian products have a bad reputation among consumers

Many consumers are of the opinion that vegetarian products are unhealthier and more harmful to the environment than meat. This is shown by a study by ETH Zurich. The negative attitude is also reflected in purchases. Vegetarian products are still niche products.

Price more important for consumers than sustainability label
Media

Price more important for consumers than sustainability label

When buying food, Swiss consumers pay more attention to the price than to sustainability labels. One reason for this might be that many are not aware of what the labels mean. In addition, more and more people are buying their groceries online. This is the result of a survey by the retailer organization Swiss Retail Federation.

German oilseed processors call for commitment to genetic engineering
Media

German oilseed processors call for commitment to genetic engineering

At the start of the year, the oilseed processing industry (OVID) wishes the new German government courage and determination to achieve the goals agreed in the coalition agreement. These include the restructuring of the energy supply, further development of the Nutri-Score and the reduction of bureaucracy.

Prices for pasta are on the rise
Media

Prices for pasta are on the rise

Poor weather conditions led to poor wheat yields around the world. This has an impact on products like pasta, couscous and bulgur: they cost significantly more.

Genome editing for animal welfare
Media

Genome editing for animal welfare

British researchers were able to use genome editing to create single-sex litters in mice. In the future, the same technique could also be used to specifically breed only female chicks. This would prevent the killing of male chicks. But to do this, genome editing would also have to be permitted in animal breeding.

Swiss bread without Swiss grain?
Media

Swiss bread without Swiss grain?

Due to the exceptionally wet summer, the 2021 bread grain harvest will also be poor. Both - the quantity and quality of bread wheat - have suffered severely. To secure the bread supply, import quotas had to be applied for from the Federal Government. More imports are necessary.

Agriculture does not come from the office chair
Media

Agriculture does not come from the office chair

The many new rules mean that farmers face almost impossible tasks. As is so often the case, well-intentioned regulation makes everyday solutions for resource-efficient production impossible.

Broad alliance for modern breeding methods
Media

Broad alliance for modern breeding methods

The signal effect could not be greater. The label organization IP-Suisse, the fruit, vegetable and potato producers, the agricultural cooperative Fenaco, the large retailers Coop and Migros and the consumer forum have recently joined forces under the name "Varieties for tomorrow".

Climate change: "You have to invest heavily in innovation".
Media

Climate change: "You have to invest heavily in innovation".

On the occasion of the 26th Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Matthias Berninger, Global Head of Public Affairs, Science & Sustainability at Bayer, talks about the potential of new fertilisers for climate protection.

The temptation of the popular
Media

The temptation of the popular

Agriculture is one of the first victims of climate change. At the same time, it causes a significant share of global greenhouse gases. New technologies are the key to minimising the problem. But experts in particular are finding it increasingly difficult to recognise innovations as a solution to climate change.

Content in German

The rain, the vines and the robbers
Media

The rain, the vines and the robbers

2021 was a year for many winemakers to forget. Without crop protection, it will likely be difficult for the production of wine in Switzerland.

Making vanilla flavoring out of plastic waste
Media

Making vanilla flavoring out of plastic waste

Using bacteria, researchers in Scotland have succeeded in making vanillin out of plastic waste. This opens up the possibility of transforming plastic waste into a product that is in demand all over the world, thereby benefiting both the environment and food producers.

«An area one and a half times the size of the EU»
Media

«An area one and a half times the size of the EU»

The world’s population will increase to roughly 10 billion by 2050. Urs Niggli is therefore convinced that we need to make more productive use of existing land. This also means using gene editing.

An innovation hub for cultured meat
Media

An innovation hub for cultured meat

Migros, Bühler and Givaudan are launching an innovation hub for cultured meat. A pilot facility in Kemptthal (canton of Zurich) is moving forward with the development and marketing of lab-grown meat.

Canton of Zurich: Up to 90 percent fewer grapes
Media

Canton of Zurich: Up to 90 percent fewer grapes

The wet summer had a disastrous impact on the grape harvest. Conditions were ideal for mildew and other diseases and pests. In the canton of Zurich, the grape harvest was 50 percent smaller than usual.

A year of famine without pesticides
Media

A year of famine without pesticides

The year the prohibition against pesticides was put to a vote in Switzerland domestic farmers faced extremely severe weather conditions.

Swiss farmers can no longer protect their crops
Politics

Swiss farmers can no longer protect their crops

There is great uncertainty. Nobody knows how to guarantee the protection of crops in the future. There are hardly any approved active substances available that can be used to fight pests and fungal diseases.

Tomatoes with high amino acid content
Media

Tomatoes with high amino acid content

Gene-edited tomatoes have recently become available on the market in Japan. They were modified using the CRISPR/Cas9 precision breeding technique.

When copper no longer helps
Media

When copper no longer helps

The wet summer in 2021 led to losses of as much as 80 percent for potato farmers. Organic farms were hit especially hard. Even the massive use of copper was unable to save harvests in many cases.

Eastern Switzerland's Wine Harvest: It is not possible without plant health protection
Media

Eastern Switzerland's Wine Harvest: It is not possible without plant health protection

The summer of 2021 will probably remain in the memory of the Eastern Swiss winemakers for a long time to come. The wet cold weather with hail storms causes major crop failures.

CO2 reduction with alternative artificial fertiliser
Media

CO2 reduction with alternative artificial fertiliser

The two agrochemical producers Bayer and Syngenta are investing in an American start-up whose technology can massively reduce the use of nitrogen fertiliser.

Content in German

Genome editing for livestock farming
Media

Genome editing for livestock farming

More than 800 animal scientists met recently at the annual meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss challenges and solutions relating to the future of livestock breeding and farming.

More organic does not mean more biodiversity
Media

More organic does not mean more biodiversity

According to a team of researchers at the University of Göttingen, the key to more biodiversity lies in a landscape mosaic of natural habitats and small and diverse areas of cultivation.

Downgraded wheat and infested fruit
Media

Downgraded wheat and infested fruit

For a number of crops, this past summer’s bad weather has led to poor harvests. Wheat has been particularly affected. As much as 90 percent of the harvest, depending on the region, has had to be downgraded.

Resource wear instead of regional production
Media

Resource wear instead of regional production

On 13 June, the Swiss voters voted in favor of productive agriculture and against technology bans. They want regional food at affordable prices in the future. However, Switzerland is moving in the wrong direction with the unofficial counter-proposal under discussion on the two rejected agricultural initiatives. Disproportionate new hurdles in the authorization of plant protection products are threatening farmers with failed harvests. The environment and climate are not helped.

Moratoria also damage research careers
Media

Moratoria also damage research careers

Researchers are losing access to Horizon Europe. Restoring it is a top priority. But Switzerland also has it in its own hands to enable attractive new fields of research instead of blocking them.

Content in German

Prices for fruit are rising
Media

Prices for fruit are rising

The icy spring as well as the storms of recent weeks have led to some massive crop losses among European farmers. The consequences of this are rising fruit prices at the start of the summer. In fall, vegetables could also become more expensive.

Don’t stifle research and innovation
Media

Don’t stifle research and innovation

Whether it’s 5G, the coronavirus vaccine or genetic engineering, there is a lot of resistance to new technologies at the moment.