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Sunday
18 October 2020

The apple of discord

As you know, pesticides, which are easily used to incentivise monocultures, are an apple of discord. On one hand, this is in the interest of a significant agricultural sector, that of apple production, which only reaches the notable figure of 910,767,000 kilograms per year (data from the year 2017) in South Tyrol. To obtain these results, the level of pesticides used has been increased and, in South Tyrol, this is equal to double the national average. On the other hand, there is a significant number of obstinate voices that sustain that, given the data, the use and abuse of such substances pollutes and is harmful to the community and the surrounding environment. Beyond the complaints between activists, councillors, farmers and companies who fill the pages of newspapers and the social media, we would like to highlight an aspect that is too often underestimated and that concerns the standard required by consumers when they buy a product. Whether they are buying an apple or any other type of consumable, when faced with an economic model where people are unaware or not particularly discerning, factors such as beauty and quantity enter into play. And while farmer's markets or organic sales points do in fact exist and receive frequent visitors, large supermarket chains are still the main location for food supplies. They have exactly what we want on their shelves: round, shiny, bright-coloured apples without any dents. If we wish to change things, we must begin by changing our own behaviour as consumers. Because, if consumers choose to go another way, farmers have a greater incentive to modify their production methods.