More food from Switzerland, more farmers, more ecological and social production and no genetic manipulation: this calls for the initiative for food sovereignty. At first glance this sounds like music in the ears of the farmers. For one time, however, the farmers' camp is deeply divided.
"This initiative takes a step back in the planned economy," says federal councilor Schneider-Ammann at the start of the program in a one-on-one conversation with moderator Jonas Projer. The farmer is taken out of his entrepreneurial responsibility and the competition would suffer a lot, Schneider-Ammann criticized. He hopes for support from the SVP camp. The party has not yet spoken with a slogan audience. According to Projer it was even extremely difficult to invite an SVP representative to the discussion. "We asked about 15 national SVP politicians, everyone has canceled," says Projer.
SVP politician gets goose bumps
The moderator finally found someone: Martin Schuler, SVP politician of Zug and farmer, is against the Initiative for Food Sovereignty – the only farmer in the "Arena" round. He gets goose bumps and reads the initiation text, Schuler said. "We will use it to make a golden cage, there are so many innovative farmers, but all good ideas would be strangled by the paragraphs of this initiative," warns Schuler.
He vehemently contradicts his colleague Rudi Berli, member of the initiative committee. "The average income of Swiss farmers is less than 4,000 francs – and that for a 60-hour working week," says Berli. It was high time to help the farmer and ensure sustainable and honest agriculture.
FDP National Councilor Christa Markwalder is also behind the farmers, she emphasizes. However, the initiative completely misses the target. «This initiative is brutally antisocial. Because it leads to rising food prices and this damage primarily low-income families, "says Markwalder.
"Fear" is that, Ulrike Minkner, organic farmer and vice-president of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty, intervenes: "Here politics is made with an uncertain view of the glass bulb, and no study shows that prices will actually rise."
Molina: "What is really antisocial …"
Minkner receives support from SP National Council Fabian Molina. This is Nationalratsgspändli Markwalder. "What is antisocial is that many people nowadays can not afford good and fair food, and the quality of food needs to be increased – that's what the initiative wants."
Projer, who in the heated debate almost has trouble to be heard, asks organic farmer Minkner to the test and immediately confronts them with the laughter of the public with the coat of arms of the Soviet Union. "The prices, the number of employees and wages must be arranged by the state. Tell honestly that their initiative is socialistic. "Minkner leaves the provocation cold Tired, smiling, she replies that the initiative is certainly not a socialist initiative, the only thing that counts in agriculture is that the federal government finally takes on its responsibility." Just like he does energy, transport and education, the federal government must reach out to the farmers, "Minkner said.
Federal councilor Schneider-Ammann does not, however, like to extend his protective hand. He fears a fair price every day in agriculture. "That would be extremely cost-intensive," says Schneider-Ammann. In addition, according to the federal government, another problem is that the initiative favors regional trade and demands agricultural products from abroad. According to the Federal Council, Switzerland violates several international agreements. These should be discussed again.
At the end of the program, the always highly discussed subject of genetic manipulation follows. The initiators are not satisfied with the current moratorium, but demand a constitutional ban. But this time Bauer Berli turns the tables around. "Genetic material from plants and animals must not be privatized, this is a common property, and genetic engineering wants exactly that, and then, ladies and gentlemen, we are back in the Soviet Union."