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.”
Good news: Vandana Shiva supports our initiative! «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. (…) (1/6) pic.twitter.com/Pg0G7ovxDH
— #PestizidinitiativeJA am 13. Juni (@LebenstattGift) June 4, 2021
Navdanya and the Navdanya movement was created by Dr. Vandana Shiva 30 years ago in India to defend Seed and Food sovereignty and small farmers around the world. Navdanya pioneered the movement of seed saving and seed freedom, which began in response to the crisis of erosion of agricultural biodiversity and introduction of GMOs and patents on seeds through intellectual property rights (IPRs) and so-called ‘free trade’ agreements. It has long fought against biopiracy, the patenting of indigenous knowledge by self-interested multinational corporations and won cases related to Neem, basmati rice and wheat in India.
Through its Earth Democracy project, Navdanya International works to promote a new vision for a Planetary Citizenship, an alternative worldview, rooted in caring and compassion for the Earth and Society, where ecological responsibility and economic justice, based on the Law of Return, are central to creating a liveable future for humanity.
Vandana Shiva is an Indian scholar, environmental activist, food sovereignty advocate, and anti-globalization author. Based in Delhi, Shiva has written more than 20 books. Shiva is one of the leaders and board members of the International Forum on Globalization, and a figure of the anti-globalization movement.