A group of approximately 30 tractors paraded through the streets of Geneva on Saturday, for Swiss farmers to express their revolt and demands, on the occasion of the first protest of this kind organized in Switzerland since the beginning of the general mobilization of farmers in Europe, informs AFP.
“As a young person, it worries me that I don’t know if our job has a future. It’s quite depressing to see that the generation before us is struggling to generate profit and modernize their equipment to do everything that the political factor tells us asks us to do: to produce in a more ecological and qualitative way”, explained Antonin Ramu, 19 years old, apprentice wine grower.
Even though he welcomes the transition to green agriculture, this young protester requested “more support”. “And above all, we cannot compete with products that do not follow the same rules”, emphasized Antonin Ramu.
This first protest by farmers in Switzerland, a country that is not a member of the European Union, was organized by the Uniterre union, after last week another farmers’ union, the Union suisse des paysans, launched a petition with several demands, a measure considered insufficient by some farmers.
On Saturday, the approximately 30 tractors, escorted by the police, gathered in the large square in the center of Geneva, where approximately 200 people also came.
“It is the first protest of farmers in Switzerland, as a result of the demonstrations and blockades that took place all over Europe. In Switzerland, many people think that the situation is different and that we do not suffer from EU policies, but, in reality, we are in the same kind of context,” said Eline Müller, union secretary at Uniterre.
Suit on a tractor Rudi Berli, another leader from Uniterre, said: “Agriculture in Europe is going through a difficult period, divided between the demands of a sustainable agriculture and the pressure for competitiveness… This picture is also valid for what happening in Switzerland”.
On the placards hanging from the tractors one could read: “Without farmers you will have nothing to eat” or “Big distribution chains must pay fair prices”.
Dairy cow and chicken breeder Florian Baudet, 50, came to the protest to demand greater transparency regarding distributors’ margins. “Distributors have higher profit margins than producers. It is absolutely unacceptable”, criticized Florian Baudet. He also called for the purchase of local products, but he wanted to emphasize that he does not want to put everything on the consumers, because nowadays it is complicated to tell from the label where the products come from. AGERPRES/(AS editor: Constantin Balaban, online editor: Simona Aruştei)
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