Initiative for food sovereignty: Schneider-Ammann warns against adoption

The Bundesrat is of the opinion that the bill would be contrary to free trade. With the proponents he comes on deaf ears. Because that is exactly what they provoke.

Valerie Zaslawski, Bern

The initiative is extremely dangerous for the federal council member Johann Schneider-Ammann. (Image: Peter Klaunzer / Keystone)

The initiative is extremely dangerous for the federal council member Johann Schneider-Ammann. (Image: Peter Klaunzer / Keystone)

Although the initiative for food sovereignty in the eyes of the proponents could help to solve the major problems of mankind, it is flammable for its opponents & # 39; The latter also includes the federal council member Johann Schneider-Ammann. On Tuesday, he presented to the media in Bern the arguments why on September 23 "necessarily a no" should be placed in the ballot box. The Minister of Economic Affairs was almost a bit upset about his situation, since the first trench survey from research institute GfS Bern shows a surprisingly high degree of approval for the submission of the Farmers Union Uniterre: 75 percent of the respondents say yes today. 22 percent is against and 3 percent has not provided any information. Schneider-Ammann knows that the initiative for food sovereignty seems "seductive" at first glance. Nevertheless: "They can not get through" – and for different reasons.

«Patronizing the citizens»

According to Schneider-Ammann, the initiative is in violation of international trade law. Because it not only requires the federal government to promote a local farmer's agriculture that produces healthy food and meets the social and ecological expectations of the population. In order to strengthen production under social and ecological conditions, tariffs could be imposed on imported agricultural products if they do not meet Swiss quality standards. Or their import can be completely banished. This is the opposite of a free market & # 39; and & # 39; a patronage of self-determined citizens & # 39 ;, said Schneider-Ammann. The interventions would also lead to higher food prices; he could not quantify the price increase. And finally, this would stimulate shopping tourism.

Moreover, food sovereignty would impede the ongoing negotiations for a free trade agreement with the South American Mercosur states, fears Schneider-Ammann. He even said that they could eventually become "impossible". On request, the US Department of Commerce writes: "Switzerland would probably be forced to demand possible confessions from free trade partners, which they would hardly accept."

This contradiction with free trade is unlikely to disrupt the initiators, since the concept of food sovereignty was explicitly presented by the international small farmers' organization La Via Campesina at the food stop in Rome in 1996 as "anti-colonial criticism of the international determination of states by international trade rules of the WTO ". The concept is intended to combat global poverty today because about 800 million people do not have enough to eat. Paradoxically, according to the critics, hunger affects mainly the rural population, which in turn produces most of the food. The principle of sovereignty is the self-determined production of food, with the producers at the center, the consumers come second.

According to the initiators, farmers' organizations in Switzerland should also be set up to ensure that the supply of farmers is tailored to the needs of the population. The federal government must also ensure fair prices for producers and provide higher incomes and more farm workers. "It is no longer a dirigiste," Schneider-Ammann scoffed, warning of a "regression to state intervention".

Many requirements have already been fulfilled

Many of the initiators' demands had already been met, the Minister of Economic Affairs has finally said that agriculture is already diverse today, the protection of the cultivated land is guaranteed and the ban on export subsidies is quickly implemented. As a reminder, Switzerland said nearly 80 percent more than a year ago Yes, on the counter-proposal of the citizens' initiative for food security, which is described as a "passive state of food supply" in comparison with food sovereignty according to the World Agricultural Report, in which "all people have access to adequate nutrition at all times". At that time, the Alliance for Food Sovereignty & # 39; against this bill, because the sale, which makes cross-border trade relations possible to contribute to the sustainable agriculture and food industry, can be interpreted too broadly for its taste. For: The Alliance wanted and would like less today and not – like Schneider-Ammann – more free trade. Incidentally, according to his proponents, this is just as beneficial for the poor as it is to lead to greater prosperity.

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