Yesterday, alongside the Europe–wide Alliance to Save the Bees and Agriculture we took a stand against the agrochemical industry. At the annual general meetings (AGMs) of Syngenta and Bayer we made ourselves heard on behalf of the bees, people and the planet. We were there to demand that agrochemical companies withdraw their legal challenge against the temporary ban of their bee-killer pesticides and clear the path to ecological farming practices.
Shareholders attending the AGMs were greeted by beekeepers and environmental activists with brochures which highlight an ongoing pollinator and agriculture crisis. We openly challenged the presidents of the companies within the meetings themselves, together with the representatives of the Alliance to Save the Bees and Agriculture, which consists of more than 50 European beekeeping and farmer associations, environmental and human rights organizations, consumers and slow food groups as well as independent research institutes.
We demanded that Syngenta and Bayer stop the marketing of bee-harming pesticides and, prompted by our questions during the AGM, Syngenta's CEO acknowledged that the current EU ban of Thiametoxam, a bee-killing pesticide, led to a financial loss in revenue of about 60 mil Euros. Regardless, Syngenta said they will continue to fight the European ban in court claiming it was neither scientifically nor politically and economically justified. The CEO also reiterated that factors not related to industrial agriculture, above all the varroa mite, are the cause of bees decline.
Bayer, Syngenta and BASF continue to promote a broken industrial agriculture system which is failing and increasing our dependency on unnecessary chemical products. They are constantly lobbying the EU and fight for their profits. Agrochemicals companies perpetuate an addiction to pesticides which is highly dangerous to bee health and food security. They deliberately ignore ecological farming as an alternative solution which can ensure a safe future for agriculture, bees and humans.
Help us make it clear that we see through their blatant profiteering off the risk they pose to the planet. We can all take action and be part of the international movement to save the bees and promote ecological farming by simply signing this petition.
Matthias Wüthrich is an Ecological Farming campaigner and European bees project leader at Greenpeace Switzerland.