More organic in the field and on the plate: the canton of Lucerne has launched an ambitious project with agriculture.
Almost a third of all pigs in this country grunt in Lucerne stables. This is record. Every tenth cow in Switzerland also lives in this canton. Accordingly, milk production also plays a major role here.
In short: Lucerne is one of the most important agricultural cantons in Switzerland. And it is precisely in this stronghold of animal-intensive agriculture that the organic bud should bloom more in the future. At least that’s what the canton of Lucerne is aiming for with a new action plan.
“The demand for organic products in Switzerland is growing,” says Thomas Meyer from the canton’s Agriculture and Forest Service. Lucerne wants to be part of this development. Because the added value is greater. In other words: When selling a bud yoghurt or an organic salad, more remains in the wallet of the producer.
More organic on the plate too
Together with the industry, the association Bio Luzern and the Lucerne farmers’ association, the canton has set itself the following goal, among other things: by 2027, the organically farmed area should reach at least 15 percent. Today, around 11 percent of Lucerne’s meadows belong to Bud farms.
Furthermore, restaurateurs should increasingly serve Bud products. Because while retailers already have a lot of organic products on their shelves, gastro establishments are lagging behind here. The canton therefore wants to decorate 40 restaurants, canteens and take-aways with the “Bio Cuisine” label. “There is still a lot of potential here,” says Thomas Meyer.
Organic meat is not immune to falling prices
More organic products, more organic areas: With this announcement, the canton dares to undertake a Herculean task. Forage-based livestock farming has a long tradition in Lucerne. Favored by topography, soil and climate. The farmers have technically adapted their farms to this – the incentive to invest a lot of money to switch to organic is correspondingly small.
There have already been major price falls for organic pigs and organic eggs, and organic milk has also had very difficult times.
In addition, the organic meat market in particular harbors risks. “There have already been major price falls for organic pigs and organic eggs, and organic milk has also had very difficult times,” says Christian Galliker, Vice President of Bio Luzern and the Lucerne Farmers’ Association.
It is therefore important not to flood the market with masses of organic products and to keep an eye on prices. Because: “If the economic prospects are right, then we have potential that not only lies fallow, but also encourages farmers to switch to organic.”
Environmental pollution brings about rethinking
Nonetheless, Christian Galliker believes that the project will succeed. Because the downside of intensive animal husbandry is sometimes too high ammonia and phosphorus levels. If farmers can be persuaded to convert and consequently keep fewer animals, the environment will also benefit.
And another argument gives Galliker confidence. “Consumers are interested.” Per capita consumption has risen steadily – particularly sharply in the Corona years, when restaurants were closed and people started cooking more for themselves.
Thomas Meyer from the canton agrees with Galliker: “If we can show that there is a demand for specific organic products, we are firmly convinced that we can motivate farmers to start organic farming.”