On Wednesday, the deputies of the Great Council approved a motion from the Vert’Libéraux (green liberals), despite the opposition of some producers. From now on, all vineyards and agricultural estates belonging to the Canton of Neuchâtel will have to convert to organic farming.
The city of Neuchâtel had already decided that all its estates would go organic. Moreover, last January, the Great Council accepted a postulate to ban synthetic pesticides. The motion has now been approved and requests the State Council to convert its thousand hectares of exploited land to organic or biodynamic agriculture as soon as possible, and to propose measures favorable to biodiversity and the environment, with regards to vineyards and agricultural estates. In fact, the motion gives the government two years to figure out how it will make the 130 farmers convert their productions.
Several producers already expressed a strong opposition to this project, which, according to them, aims at dictating rules. “If I want to continue to grow on those state parcels, I must transform my entire estate or stop all together. For a farmer who does not sell his own merchandise, if no client is interested in organic products in the area, this will mean a financial loss. The best solution is that the conversion becomes necessary due to a lack of products. The consumer must be an actor and play the game,” declared Alain Gerber, PLR deputy, president of the winemakers of Neuchâtel and vice-president of the Neuchâtel Chamber of Agriculture and Viticulture.