After much debate between anti-pesticide campaigners and farm groups, 60% of Swiss voters rejected two initiatives aiming to make Switzerland pesticide-free.
One initiative proposed an outright ban on the private and commercial use of synthetic pesticides and food imports produced using them, which would have been implemented within 10 years.
The other measure would have made government subsidies available only to farms that did not regularly use antibiotics on their livestock and only fed their animals fodder produced on their own farms.
Voter turnout was high, with around 60% voter participation in most areas. Only one out of 26 districts voted in favor of the proposals.
A Swiss producer group and the Swiss government argued the measures would have resulted in lower food yields and higher food prices. As an alternative, the government and parliament proposed a legal project that would aim to “reduce by 50% the risks associated with synthetic pesticides by 2027,” according to Swissinfo.ch.
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The Swiss Chocolate Manufacturers Association also opposed the bans, saying the restrictions would violate international trade laws, increase prices, and reduce production capacity and jobs.
"This is a reasonable and pragmatic decision which guarantees the future of our agriculture and the country's food security,” said Swiss President Guy Parmelin, per France24.
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