Switzerland could become the first European country to ban artificial pesticides.

On June 13th a referendum will take place, and backers hope it will trigger similar moves elsewhere.

They want the country to ban the use of products made by agro-chemical giants such as Swiss firm Syngenta and Germany’s Bayer and BASF.

Campaigners say artificial products cause serious health problems and reduce biodiversity.

But manufacturers insist their pesticides are rigorously regulated and that crop yields would slump without them.

Another vote on the same day aims to improve the quality of Switzerland’s drinking water and food.

It would stop direct subsidies to farmers who use artificial pesticides and antibiotics in livestock.

If adopted, the proposals give farmers up to 10 years to make the transition.

And would allow Switzerland to become a leader in organic food and drink production.



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