Agriculture is one the most important economic resources of Switzerland. One of the many purposes of this sector is to maintain the countryside as it is and to ensure that the decentralized lands do not remain unoccupied.
Swiss policies on agriculture
Swiss laws are very strict and oriented towards protecting the agricultural industry. Entrepreneurs investing in Swiss agriculture are encouraged to put their money in as they benefit from preferential tariffs and subsidizations for domestic production of agricultural goods. The subsidizations are given to more than 70% of the Swiss agriculture.
The Swiss agricultural policies are strictly regulated and benefit from fixed prices and restrictions applied to some import products.
The law encourages Swiss agricultural production of goods through additional taxation on imported goods and restricting as much as possible the import of goods.
The Federal Council is allowed to fix prices for wheat, milk and other food products and the production costs are highly competitive with the foreign ones.
Policy developments for Swiss agriculture
The progress of Swiss agriculture has come from the market orientation, even if the support offered by the Government is still very important.
The price of milk has stopped being controlled and the milk quota system has been eliminated, measures that led to an improvement of the Swiss economic efficiency. The export subsidies have been eliminated reducing the tariff rate quota for primary agricultural products, and discounts have been applied to different tariffs in order to encourage the economic efficiency and domestic production.
Organic products market in Switzerland
Starting with 1998 Switzerland has begun investing in the production of organic food by reallocating the savings on outgoing budgets for market regulations to payments to farmers who invested in ecological production of goods. Farmers will benefit from subsidies if they obtain certificates of environmental management system (EMS). Certain conditions must be met for receiving EMS:
All the measures and subsidies for organic farming have led to an increasing number of organic farms and sale of ecological products in Switzerland.