Production

Who is eating my leaves?
Media

Who is eating my leaves?

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

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.

Public funds for avoidable crop failures: neither sustainable nor resource-efficient
Knowledge

Public funds for avoidable crop failures: neither sustainable nor resource-efficient

The reduced use of plant protection products is causing much smaller wheat and rapeseed harvests. A study carried out by Swiss Agricultural Research reveals that such crop failures can only be offset by state subsidies. This is neither sustainable nor resource-efficient.

Production: More food with fewer resources
Knowledge

Production: More food with fewer resources

One of the greatest challenges of this century will be to feed an estimated ten billion people in a safe and sustainable manner. To achieve this goal, agriculture needs to become much more productive.

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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.

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.

Science demonstrates the concrete benefits of new breeding methods
Research

Science demonstrates the concrete benefits of new breeding methods

The Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) recognizes the significant opportunities offered by new breeding methods. In a new dossier, the Academy presents five examples of crops cultivated using genome editing, which have high potential for Swiss agriculture. This publication emphasizes the scientific consensus on the use of genetic scissors. The new breeding methods offer numerous advantages for the environment and agriculture.

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.

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.

From Data to Harvests - How Digitization is Improving Agriculture
Knowledge

From Data to Harvests - How Digitization is Improving Agriculture

Digitalization is making its way into agriculture. At the Swiss-Food Talk on April 25, 2023, three experts from the agricultural machinery industry, vegetable production, and agricultural media discussed how digitization is changing food production. The consensus is that we are in the transition from industrial to smart agriculture, where data and algorithms as support allow precise interventions and serve sustainability.

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.

«How can our agriculture and food system become fit for the new normal?»
Knowledge

«How can our agriculture and food system become fit for the new normal?»

It is time to say goodbye to millimeter agricultural policy, says Liebegg director Hansruedi Häfliger in view of the global multi-crisis. Farming families should be given back the necessary room for maneuver so that the agriculture and food economy becomes more resilient.

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".

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

How plant breeding innovations are helping to feed a hungry world
Knowledge

How plant breeding innovations are helping to feed a hungry world

As of 2019, nearly 26% of the globe’s population experienced hunger or did not have regular access to safe and nutritious food. With increasing global populations and a changing climate, this number is estimated to surpass 840 million by 2030.

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.

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.

Revolution on the farm
Knowledge

Revolution on the farm

The CRISPR/Cas method will revolutionise parts of plant breeding. The technology is urgently needed to address the challenges facing agriculture in this century and threatening our security of supply.

Content in German

«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.

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.

Questions about solidarity in agricultural production remain open
Politics

Questions about solidarity in agricultural production remain open

The war between Russia and Ukraine threatens the global food supply. Security of supply is also becoming an issue in Switzerland. In the last spring session, parliamentarians from various parties wanted to know from the Federal Council how it intends to react to the changed global food supply situation. The Federal Council's replies do not yet reflect a fundamental reassessment of the situation.

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.

Parliament decides on a change of course in green genetic engineering
Politics

Parliament decides on a change of course in green genetic engineering

According to the National Council, the Council of States has also spoken out in favor of a loosening of the Gene-Tech Moratorium. The Federal Assembly takes the arguments from the scientific community into account with the decision. The opportunities presented by new breeding technologies are greater than the risks. The Federal Council is now called upon to initiate the approval of new breeding methods.

Sustainable food from the bioreactor
Knowledge

Sustainable food from the bioreactor

Feed more people and waste less raw materials – we are achieving this goal thanks to "sustainability from the laboratory," Tilo Hühn is convinced. Together with a team of 80 at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), the food architect is researching sustainable nutrition solutions.

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.

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.

Everything that claims to be “free from pesticides” is not always the best solution
Knowledge

Everything that claims to be “free from pesticides” is not always the best solution

In the Indian state of Sikkim, it has been forbidden to use synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers since 2016. Western media outlets have been happy to quote this example as proof that switching to completely organic farming works. This does not, however, tell the whole story.

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.

Content in German

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.

First plant-based corona vaccine
Knowledge

First plant-based corona vaccine

After just one year of research and development, the first vaccines against Sars-Cov-2 have received approval. The mRNA vaccines are the most effective. However, their production is relatively expensive, and they must be stored constantly at temperatures as low as -70 degrees Celsius. A Canadian company is successfully pursuing an alternative approach: it is using tobacco plants to produce the vaccine.

Vegetables protect fruits - and vice versa
Knowledge

Vegetables protect fruits - and vice versa

Plastic packaging in the grocery trade protects fruit and vegetables from spoilage, but also creates considerable amounts of waste. Together with the Empa, Lidl Switzerland has now developed a protective wrap for fruit and vegetables that is based on renewable raw materials.

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.

European agriculture: "Keeping an eye on the global framework"
Knowledge

European agriculture: "Keeping an eye on the global framework"

Food security in Europe and sustainability in agriculture were topics of discussion at Bayer's agricultural talks in cooperation with the "agrarzeitung". The following issues became clear: Europe cannot be viewed in isolation. Every change in European production has an impact on other regions of the world.

Genome editing for animal welfare
Media

Genome editing for animal welfare

British researchers were able to use genome editing to create single-sex litters in mice. In the future, the same technique could also be used to specifically breed only female chicks. This would prevent the killing of male chicks. But to do this, genome editing would also have to be permitted in animal breeding.

Swiss bread without Swiss grain?
Media

Swiss bread without Swiss grain?

Due to the exceptionally wet summer, the 2021 bread grain harvest will also be poor. Both - the quantity and quality of bread wheat - have suffered severely. To secure the bread supply, import quotas had to be applied for from the Federal Government. More imports are necessary.

Agriculture does not come from the office chair
Media

Agriculture does not come from the office chair

The many new rules mean that farmers face almost impossible tasks. As is so often the case, well-intentioned regulation makes everyday solutions for resource-efficient production impossible.

Broad alliance for modern breeding methods
Media

Broad alliance for modern breeding methods

The signal effect could not be greater. The label organization IP-Suisse, the fruit, vegetable and potato producers, the agricultural cooperative Fenaco, the large retailers Coop and Migros and the consumer forum have recently joined forces under the name "Varieties for tomorrow".

Ten myths about food production
Knowledge

Ten myths about food production

Having the “right” diet is playing an increasingly more important role in the lives of a great many people. A healthy lifestyle has become a status symbol. Healthy foods and sustainable production methods have been the subject of many extremely emotional debates. A wide range of outdated ideas and myths have taken root in the minds of a large number of consumers.

“Different Rules for Genome Editing Are Welcome”
Politics

“Different Rules for Genome Editing Are Welcome”

The Swiss Federal Council and the National Council of Switzerland want to put new cultivation methods under the existing GMO moratorium. A majority of the SECC-S decided on Tuesday that the cultivation of genome-edited plants is to be permitted subject to requirements. We discussed this decision with Jan Lucht, an expert on biotechnology from scienceindustries.

Climate change threatens the future of coffee
Knowledge

Climate change threatens the future of coffee

By 2050, 50 percent of the areas used for coffee cultivation could disappear. The two largest coffee producers, Brazil and Vietnam, would be particularly affected.

Climate change: lower harvests starting as early as 2030?
Research

Climate change: lower harvests starting as early as 2030?

Climate change affects the quality and quantity of harvests. According to a recently published study, there is a risk of significantly lower maize harvests as early as the mid-2030s. Africa and South America are primarily affected. However, Europe must also be careful that agricultural production is not neglected.

The rain, the vines and the robbers
Media

The rain, the vines and the robbers

2021 was a year for many winemakers to forget. Without crop protection, it will likely be difficult for the production of wine in Switzerland.

«An area one and a half times the size of the EU»
Media

«An area one and a half times the size of the EU»

The world’s population will increase to roughly 10 billion by 2050. Urs Niggli is therefore convinced that we need to make more productive use of existing land. This also means using gene editing.

Canton of Zurich: Up to 90 percent fewer grapes
Media

Canton of Zurich: Up to 90 percent fewer grapes

The wet summer had a disastrous impact on the grape harvest. Conditions were ideal for mildew and other diseases and pests. In the canton of Zurich, the grape harvest was 50 percent smaller than usual.

Agricultural production in the EU to drop by 20 percent
Knowledge

Agricultural production in the EU to drop by 20 percent

The European Green Deal would reduce the amount of agricultural production in the EU and lower farmers’ incomes.

A year of famine without pesticides
Media

A year of famine without pesticides

The year the prohibition against pesticides was put to a vote in Switzerland domestic farmers faced extremely severe weather conditions.

Swiss farmers can no longer protect their crops
Politics Media

Swiss farmers can no longer protect their crops

There is great uncertainty. Nobody knows how to guarantee the protection of crops in the future. There are hardly any approved active substances available that can be used to fight pests and fungal diseases.

When copper no longer helps
Media

When copper no longer helps

The wet summer in 2021 led to losses of as much as 80 percent for potato farmers. Organic farms were hit especially hard. Even the massive use of copper was unable to save harvests in many cases.

Eastern Switzerland's Wine Harvest: It is not possible without plant health protection
Media

Eastern Switzerland's Wine Harvest: It is not possible without plant health protection

The summer of 2021 will probably remain in the memory of the Eastern Swiss winemakers for a long time to come. The wet cold weather with hail storms causes major crop failures.

Downgraded wheat and infested fruit
Media

Downgraded wheat and infested fruit

For a number of crops, this past summer’s bad weather has led to poor harvests. Wheat has been particularly affected. As much as 90 percent of the harvest, depending on the region, has had to be downgraded.

Resource wear instead of regional production
Media

Resource wear instead of regional production

On 13 June, the Swiss voters voted in favor of productive agriculture and against technology bans. They want regional food at affordable prices in the future. However, Switzerland is moving in the wrong direction with the unofficial counter-proposal under discussion on the two rejected agricultural initiatives. Disproportionate new hurdles in the authorization of plant protection products are threatening farmers with failed harvests. The environment and climate are not helped.

Risks to Swiss food security
Knowledge

Risks to Swiss food security

Despite the Covid 19 pandemic, food security in Switzerland was guaranteed at all times. Still, we should not feel a false sense of security.

"Organic products can feed the world"
Knowledge

"Organic products can feed the world"

To produce the same amount of food, organic agriculture needs around 40 percent more space than conventional agriculture. In order to be able to feed the growing world population completely organically, up to 80 percent more space would be needed in the future.

Plant breeding for resource-efficient farming
Knowledge

Plant breeding for resource-efficient farming

Climate change, pests, population growth and ever-scarcer resources pose major challenges for farmers around the world. And being able to produce sufficient food in a manner that is as environmentally-friendly as possible requires increasingly robust plant varieties.

Healthy eggplants thanks to Bacillus thuringiensis
Research

Healthy eggplants thanks to Bacillus thuringiensis

Insect pests like fruit and shoot borers pose a significant threat to food security in many regions of the world. External application of chemical insecticides has proven unsuitable. Therefore, the research industry has high hopes for biologics.

Hightech im Pflanzenschutz: «GPS statt Feuerwehrschaum»
Knowledge

Hightech im Pflanzenschutz: «GPS statt Feuerwehrschaum»

Technologischer Fortschritt und Digitalisierung machen auch vor der Landwirtschaft nicht halt. Im Gegenteil.

"Organic products do not require pesticides."
Knowledge

"Organic products do not require pesticides."

The fact that organic farmers work without pesticides is a commonly-held view, but it is clearly wrong. Around 60 percent of the Swiss top ten crop protection products are also approved for organic farming. The organic farming industry, in its current form, could not exist without modern synthetic plant protection products.