Two Thousand People March against Monsanto and Syngenta in Switzerland*
In Basel, Switzerland, the home town of the chemicals giant Syngenta, the third March Against Monsanto and Syngenta was held on Saturday 20 May 2017. Two thousand people turned out to demonstrate against toxic pesticides, GMOs, and patents on seeds. They demanded an ecological and diverse agriculture which serves food security instead of profit.
The demonstration ended at the Syngenta headquarters and was accompanied by street artists, musicians, and children dressed as bees.
In front of the Syngenta headquarters, Fern Rosenstiel, an environmental scientist from Kauai, Hawaii, spoke about the use of highly toxic pesticides – pesticides that are banned in Switzerland – on Syngenta test fields in Hawaii. She said: “Syngenta must finally take responsibility for the health problems in Hawaii.”
Syngenta is currently caught up in legal battles over its farming of GM crops in Hawaii and is planning to sell its operations in the state.
This year the main focus of the protest was the increasing market power in the agrochemical industry. In addition to the planned acquisition of Syngenta by ChemChina and the merger of Dow and Dupont, Bayer plans to take over Monsanto. Altogether, the three companies would control over 60% of the commercial seed and pesticide market.
“Syngenta is now Chinese but that does not mean that our resistance against the business practice of Syngenta stops now,” said Ueli Gähler from Multiwatch.
“Today, we protest in solidarity with smallholders in China and the rest of the world.”
The march against Monsanto and Syngenta in Basel was supported by more than 50 organisations from Switzerland and Germany, including Basel unions, the Green Party, and environmental, agricultural and development organisations such as Greenpeace, Uniterre and SWISSAID.*
Zoë Roth from the event’s organising committee drew a positive conclusion:
“The high turnout at the March against Monsanto and Syngenta in Basel confirms the desire for ecological farming.”
* The complete list of supporting organisations and more information are available at: www.marchagainstsyngenta.ch