Dr Hans Rudolf Herren, agricultural researcher and founder of the BioVision endowment, advocated re-orienting agriculture, last Wednesday.

Herren's speech was given on the occasion of the 30th birthday of "Bio-Lëtzebuerg" (an association of bio-farmers), celebrated in Roodt-sur-Syre.

According to the Swiss expert, Luxembourg needs to rethink and reorient its agricultural policies.

The core message was that the grand duchy should gradually distance itself from intensive industrial agriculture, as it doesn't offer a long-term solution. For Herren, the future lies in the development of agroecology and organic farming. Agricultural methods need to be refined in a way that organic farmers can produce enough food to allow for a healthy and varied diet.

Such rethinking is a team effort, Herren explained. The expansion of organic agriculture needs the support of farmers and consumers, but also of politicians. The expert argued that the required change can only occur if the legislation starts supporting organic agriculture. Recommendations included:

  • Increasing the price of food items produced with high levels of pesticides and herbicides;
  • Provide relevant training and assistance to farmers, to facilitate the transition to organic farming;
  • Educating consumers about the long-term risks of poisoning when consuming industrial food.
"The next generations will have to face enormous health and environmental costs, if a rethinking doesn't take place; going green and switching to organic farming is the only possible choice", Herren concluded.