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Science resists ban on GMO crops
Media

Science resists ban on GMO crops

The Supreme Court in the Philippines wants to stop the cultivation of genetically modified plants Golden Rice and Bt aubergine (Bacillus thuringiensis). This is anything but well received by the government and the scientific community: The ban could jeopardise the country's food security.

Where the focus lies in apple breeding
Media

Where the focus lies in apple breeding

The new head of Agroscope's fruit breeding research group is Andrea Patocchi. In an interview with the trade journal Obst + Wein, he explains where the focus of apple breeding lies today.

Chinese robot picks tea
Media

Chinese robot picks tea

There is a shortage of tea pickers in China. A robot developed by a researcher is set to remedy the situation and take over the work in future. Thanks to artificial intelligence, the machine can even recognise the shoots of the tea plant. The first harvesting robots are also already being developed in Switzerland.

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Potato farmers want robust varieties
Media

Potato farmers want robust varieties

As the use of crop protection has been massively reduced, the potato industry now wants to focus on more robust varieties. The industry has even concluded a target agreement with the federal government. This is ambitious: By 2040, robust varieties are to grow on 80% of potato cultivation areas.

How genetic engineering is saving the Cavendish banana
Media

How genetic engineering is saving the Cavendish banana

The most popular banana variety - the so-called Cavendish banana - could soon disappear due to a persistent fungus. Australian researchers have developed a solution based on genetic engineering.

Will this field trial revolutionise barley production?
Media

Will this field trial revolutionise barley production?

Switzerland's first field trial using plants from new breeding technologies will start this spring in Zurich. Specifically, the aim is to breed a spring barley that produces more grains per ear. If the trial works, the technology is likely to be of great interest to Swiss agriculture.

Foie gras without a guilty conscience
Media

Foie gras without a guilty conscience

The term foie gras often has negative connotations. The reason for this is foie gras production, in which the animals suffer great suffering. After top restaurateurs developed recipes with unstuffed liver, Migros is now also offering «Happy Foie». This is an animal-friendly foie gras that is supposed to taste just as good as the original. Patents are used to protect the inventors.

Why trust in science is so important
Media

Why trust in science is so important

It is essential that society has confidence in research. Only in this way can it realise its maximum potential and ultimately overcome social challenges such as climate change or a pandemic. But there are also critical voices: Some of the Swiss population has little or no trust in science. Four experts debated how research can gain people's trust at an «NZZ Live» panel discussion.

Crop protection products are in short supply - and soon the first vegetable varieties too
Media

Crop protection products are in short supply - and soon the first vegetable varieties too

Vegetable producers are currently struggling. The reason for this is the lack of crop protection products . It is becoming increasingly difficult to bring saleable products onto the market. Some farmers are even reaching their limits to such an extent that they have had to stop growing certain vegetable varieties.

Pests increasingly threaten fruit, berry and grape harvests
Media

Pests increasingly threaten fruit, berry and grape harvests

Fruit, berry and wine growing is increasingly threatened by pests such as the Japanese beetle, the spotted wing drosophila and the Mediterranean fruit fly. Producers are sounding the alarm – but there is a lack of pesticides that can put an end to the pests.

Organic farmer calls for genome editing for fruit growing
Media

Organic farmer calls for genome editing for fruit growing

The high number of plant protection treatments is a major challenge for organic farmers. One of them is apple grower Marco Messerli from Kirchdorf BE. He has had to treat susceptible apple varieties with organic pesticides a total of 48 times. Too much, he thinks, and is now calling for the authorisation of new breeding methods. Experts agree with him.

French fries are becoming scarce
Media

French fries are becoming scarce

A shortage of seed potatoes is looming in 2024. If there is a shortage of seed potatoes, the popular carbohydrate suppliers cannot be harvested. And because seed potatoes are in short supply throughout Europe, importing them will also be difficult. According to Swisspatat, varieties of French fries are particularly affected.

Agriculture between science and marketing
Media

Agriculture between science and marketing

ORF's Eco Special examines the question of how plant breeding and genetic engineering work. The programme speaks plainly: All breeding is an intervention in the genes. Whether maize or carrots, ever since humans have been breeding, they have been changing the DNA of their seeds in order to produce plants with ever better properties. And products advertised as "GMO-free" have long since contained genetic engineering - even in organic products.

On the trail of poisons
Media

On the trail of poisons

New 2023 data from Tox Info Suisse shows: Medicines and household products are primarily responsible for poisonings in Switzerland. Tox Info provided over 40,000 telephone poison counselling sessions last year. The statistics contrast with the media coverage. When the media talk about "poison", the focus is usually on pesticides. In the consultation statistics, however, products from agriculture and horticulture figure towards the bottom of the table with 2.2 per cent of consultations.

Cutting onions without crying
Media

Cutting onions without crying

Onions are now available from Swiss retailers that should no longer cause tears when cut. The onions marketed under the name "Sunions" are significantly milder than the previously known varieties. It has taken over thirty years to achieve this using traditional breeding methods.

Why emergency authorisations are on the rise
Media

Why emergency authorisations are on the rise

Blick and Beobachter report that the federal government is increasingly approving emergency authorisations for crop protection at the request of manufacturing companies, suggesting that substances banned on the Swiss market are being reintroduced through the back door, so to speak. The story is as engaging as it is false. What is true, however, is that there are more and more pests for which no authorised products are available. The authorisation process is stalling.

"Organic is not automatically healthier"
Media

"Organic is not automatically healthier"

Can pesticides be found in urine if you only consume organic products? A journalist from CH-Media asked herself this question. She wanted to carry out a self-experiment to find out whether organic food is healthier. The results and the expert statements speak against it.

Using Crispr to combat climate change
Media Research

Using Crispr to combat climate change

In the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper, Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna talks about the opportunities and risks of gene scissors. The tool can be used to specifically treat hereditary diseases, breed drought-tolerant plants and reduce greenhouse gas emis-sions from cows.

Anxious sweat as a cry for help
Media Research

Anxious sweat as a cry for help

Plants live dangerously. They are surrounded by predators. But they are not completely at their mercy. Decades of research have shown this. For example, plants emit odours when attacked. This realisation could lead to new strategies for plant protection. However, it is still uncertain whether this will ever lead to a widely used product.

It pays to take a closer look
Media Research

It pays to take a closer look

Pesticides are to blame for an increase in brain tumours in children in the Zürcher Weinland and the Bernese Seeland, according to a study carried out three years ago. Experts commissioned by the federal government have now come to a different conclusion: the results could also have been accidental.

Potato shortage due to capricious weather and lack of crop protection
Media

Potato shortage due to capricious weather and lack of crop protection

The potato harvest is not looking good this year. There is a shortfall of 100,000 tonnes, as reported by the Aargauer Zeitung. According to potato producers, this is a drop of 30 per cent compared to the long-term average.

EU authorises glyphosate for another 10 years
Media

EU authorises glyphosate for another 10 years

The EU Commission has decided to endorse the assessment of the European Food Safety Authority, which found no critical problem areas regarding the effects of glyphosate on the environment and human and animal health. The EU Commission's science-based decision to extend the authorisation for a further 10 years is also a rejection of the scare campaigns by Greenpeace and Co.

Asian hornet threatens native honey bee
Media

Asian hornet threatens native honey bee

More and more invasive pests are spreading in Switzerland. The most recent example is the Asian hornet, which poses a major threat to the native honey bee. But other invasive species also threaten agriculture and biodiversity. Control measures are many and varied. But pesticides (plant protection products and biocides) remain an important tool in the fight against the pests.

Greenpeace and the matter of facts
Media

Greenpeace and the matter of facts

Greenpeace has been fighting bitterly against green genetic engineering for decades. SWR Wissen investigated why the environmental campaign organisation has become so entrenched in the issue and detached itself from scientific evidence. In the case of "Golden Rice", the consequences are particularly glaring. But alarmism also threatens to block important innovations in new breeding methods.

Unfounded Fears of Subtle Poisoning
Media

Unfounded Fears of Subtle Poisoning

In a compelling interview with Berliner Tagesspiegel, Andreas Hensel, a renowned Ger-man veterinary, and microbiologist, underscores the often-misunderstood perceptions regarding pesticide-related risks.

Gene Technology Obstacles Result in Lost Lives
Media

Gene Technology Obstacles Result in Lost Lives

The World Health Organization (WHO) believes that a staggering 500,000 children across the globe become blind every year due to a lack of vitamin A.

Invasive Species Play a Role in Species Extinction
Media

Invasive Species Play a Role in Species Extinction

The UN's Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has explored how invasive alien species contribute to species extinction. The report's findings are stark: Invasive alien species significantly threaten our natural environment, economy, food security, and health.

Swiss Rapeseed Oil Production at Risk
Media

Swiss Rapeseed Oil Production at Risk

Swiss-produced rapeseed oil is in high demand, serving as a vital local alternative to imported palm oil for the country's food manufacturers.

Cherry Vinegar Fly Endangers Switzerland's Traditional Tall Trees
Media

Cherry Vinegar Fly Endangers Switzerland's Traditional Tall Trees

Switzerland is witnessing a concerning decline in its traditional tall fruit trees. Not only is their upkeep labor-intensive, but the introduced cherry vinegar fly (Kirschessigfliege) has also wreaked havoc on their fruit.

Lab meat soon in Swiss shops?
Media

Lab meat soon in Swiss shops?

Research into alternatives to animal meat is in full swing. Cultured meat could be a resource-efficient source of protein in the future.

Moderate consumption of aspartame is harmless
Media

Moderate consumption of aspartame is harmless

According to researchers, frequent consumption of the artificial sweetener aspartame can cause cancer. This news caused some attention in the summer of 2023.

Genome editing: Organic farming shuts itself off from progress
New Breeding Technologies Media

Genome editing: Organic farming shuts itself off from progress

In future, the EU wants to treat genome-edited plants in the same way as conventionally bred ones. As the "NZZ am Sonntag" writes, this is like a small revolution. Until now, the commercial use of gene scissors has been impossible due to an extremely restrictive genetic engineering law.

Class action lawsuit over pesticide ban
Plant protection Media

Class action lawsuit over pesticide ban

A proven seed dressing may no longer be used due to a decision of the European Court of Justice. As a result, the pumpkin harvest in Styria, Austria, has been almost completely destroyed.

Lab-grown meat is approved for consumption in the USA for the first time – this openness to new technologies is also needed in Eu
Media

Lab-grown meat is approved for consumption in the USA for the first time – this openness to new technologies is also needed in Eu

Lab-grown meat could revolutionise nutrition. But in Europe it is partly banned as a precaution. Yet new technologies are essential if the world's population is to be fed without destroying the environment, writes Matthias Benz in the NZZ.

Environmental organizations put children's lives at risk
Media

Environmental organizations put children's lives at risk

In the Philippines, the cultivation of Golden Rice has been temporarily banned. NGOs have obtained a cultivation ban based on scientifically untenable arguments. The poorest people, who could be protected from nutritional deficiencies by this rice, are the ones suffering the most. Martin Qaim, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Bonn, strongly criticizes this renewed blockade and explains the background in the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung."

EU paves the way for gene editing
Media

EU paves the way for gene editing

The European Union aims to regulate plants bred using genome editing techniques in the same way as conventional breeding methods. The European Commission plans to present a corresponding proposal for regulating new breeding technologies in early July. This move represents a significant step towards a more productive and sustainable agriculture in the EU. Switzerland should also re-evaluate genetically edited plants to avoid falling behind.

"Even with little processed food, you can cook yourself an unhealthy meal - and poison yourself fabulously"
Media

"Even with little processed food, you can cook yourself an unhealthy meal - and poison yourself fabulously"

Additives in food unsettle many people. But do thickeners and emulsifiers really harm us? Food chemist Daniel Wefers dispels prejudices - because some additives are actually beneficial for the body.

New Breeding Techniques: German Federal Minister of Research Calls for Green Light
Media

New Breeding Techniques: German Federal Minister of Research Calls for Green Light

The Federal Minister of Research has reiterated her demand to facilitate the application of new breeding techniques in Europe. As an example, she mentions the gene-editing tool CRISPR/Cas.

At Bio Suisse, appearances and reality diverge
Media

At Bio Suisse, appearances and reality diverge

Over the past decades, the umbrella organisation Bio Suisse has developed into an organisation with almost one hundred employees. In order to be able to achieve the quantities demanded by the retail trade and the high, also visual quality of conventional cultivation, Bio Suisse cannot avoid spraying areas with insecticides.

The EU's Misguided Ban on Coffee Capsules
Media

The EU's Misguided Ban on Coffee Capsules

The EU is contemplating a ban on coffee capsules, with a draft legislation already put forward by the EU Commission. Should this law pass, only compostable coffee capsules would be permitted.

Bio Suisse rejects modern breeding methods
Media

Bio Suisse rejects modern breeding methods

At their meeting in April 2023, the delegates of Bio Suisse rejected the use of new breeding methods in organic farming. With this decision, the organic association closes itself off from the possibility of becoming more productive and sustainable through modern precision breeding, such as the incorporation of disease tolerance using the CRISPR/Cas gene scissors. As reported by the "Tages-Anzeiger," the decision of the delegates was clear, and there was no real substantive debate on the topic.

Milk from the laboratory - sustainability is decisive
Media

Milk from the laboratory - sustainability is decisive

Milk from the lab is on the rise. Nestlé sells artificial milk in the USA, and a Swiss entrepreneur produces cheese in the laboratory. This is reported by the SonntagsZeitung. According to a survey by the medium, most consumers are willing to try milk alternatives produced using genetic engineering. The differences in taste compared to conventional milk are said to be minimal. However, the sustainability of the products is crucial, which includes resource efficiency and price.

Will the food of the future be grown in a laboratory?
Media

Will the food of the future be grown in a laboratory?

The global food system is currently responsible for approximately one third of all greenhouse gas emissions. Animal products, which require a large amount of land to produce, are one of the major contributors. For this reason, a number of start-ups are working eagerly on alternative protein products that require fewer resources and no animals, and are produced using industrial processes. After all, to feed more than nine billion people, all options and technologies have to be considered.

Precision breeding – England allows cultivation of gene-edited crops
New Breeding Technologies Media

Precision breeding – England allows cultivation of gene-edited crops

A regulatory change in England allows the commercial use of new breeding technologies. Until now, these technologies had been regulated in accordance with the same restrictive rules as in the EU. As a result of the new law, English farmers are now allowed to grow crops that have been bred using genome editing. This gives England’s farmers a new tool in the fight against climate change and for more sustainable agriculture.

On the way to the optimal tomato
Media

On the way to the optimal tomato

Whether as juice on a plane, pureed on a pizza or sliced on a sandwich, tomatoes are on everyone's lips. How the tomato variety comes about and how the tomato of the future tastes is shown in an article from the German "Lebensmittelmagazin".

Sugar in Switzerland: Considering all aspects
Media

Sugar in Switzerland: Considering all aspects

The federal government has pledged to reduce sugar intake in Switzerland. Going forward, a wide variety of food products are to contain less sugar, or be labeled with their sugar content. This has put sugar beet cultivation under pressure. Yet “the dose makes the poison” also applies to sugar consumption, so there may still be a meaningful future for sugar beet growing in Switzerland.

The Return of Price Sensitivity
Media

The Return of Price Sensitivity

In the past few years, consumer attention has centered on organic and high-end products, with eco-friendliness serving as a key decision-making factor. Now, rising inflation is shifting that focus. Increasingly, price is taking center stage, a trend highlighted by the growth in sales of more budget-friendly brands.

Pesticide cuts
Plant protection Media

Pesticide cuts

In Switzerland, a growing number of pesticides are being banned by the authorities. At the same time, there are almost no new ones entering the market. The regulatory authorities are severely overstretched. Things cannot go on like this. Every product that disappears from the market increases the risk of pests developing resistance and of crops failing.

Farmers demonstrate against pesticide bans
Media

Farmers demonstrate against pesticide bans

French farmers have called for a large demonstration. Between February 8 and 20, 2023, farmers will drive their tractors into the heart of Paris to protest against the gradual decline in French agricultural production. The farmers have an ever-decreasing number of pesticides at their disposal to protect their crops.

Genome research for sustainable crop protection
New Breeding Technologies Media

Genome research for sustainable crop protection

A research consortium of industry and public researchers in England has published a genome database of the most common insect pests in the United Kingdom. The open-source database has been set up to help with the development of targeted and environmentally friendly pesticides.

EU approves insects as a food ingredient
Media

EU approves insects as a food ingredient

At the end of January 2023, the EU approved two new insect species as novel foods. For example, house crickets and lesser mealworms in specific forms may now be marketed as a food ingredient in a number of food products. Certain insects are also approved for use in food processing in Switzerland and have long been considered an environmentally friendly source of protein.

Is organic more ecological?
Media

Is organic more ecological?

A study by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) posits that organic farming causes significantly lower environmental costs than conventional farming. However, agricultural economist Herbert Strübel disagrees, as the significantly lower yields of organic farming are not included in the calculation.

Dramatic drop in approved pesticides
Plant protection 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' association warns against new measures. 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.

Biotech Breeding in Africa: A New Hope for Small-Scale Farmers
Media

Biotech Breeding in Africa: A New Hope for Small-Scale Farmers

For potato farmers globally, late blight has been a persistent foe. While European farmers battle it, in Africa, the repercussions are often more devastating due to limited resources. Yet, there's newfound hope.

700 Pesticides Await Regulatory Approval
Plant protection Media

700 Pesticides Await Regulatory Approval

In Switzerland, a significant backlog of pesticides is pending approval from regulatory authorities, who are struggling to keep pace with the demand. This delay has serious implications for both the agricultural sector and environmental sustainability.

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”
New Breeding Technologies 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
New Breeding Technologies 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
Plant protection 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
Plant protection 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
New Breeding Technologies 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.

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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.