The central thesis of this paper states that the new agricultural policy (since 1993)has initiated a structural change in Swiss agriculture that appears to be quite different from the past.This is due to the shift in income support from production quantity to factor input.It is characterised by the following structural change paradox:While the decrease in the total number of farms will continue to be retarded,the rate of decrease in the number of full-time farms is expected to accelerate greatly.The increase of the percentage of part-time farms is not surprising because it corresponds to the long-term trend.Paradox, however,is that the remaining farms on average don ‘t increase significantly in size.This can be explained by the following two causes:Firstly,the new agricultural policy increases profitability of low input cultivation at the expense of intensive production.Secondly,it contributes to the continuation of the strong intrasectoral competition for rented land.As a consequence,growth of surviving full-time farms remains restricted or economically not profitable.
Policies to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions are more effective and more efficient if they are set at the regional level and not at the level of individual farms. This can help achieve climate targets.
Global food availability is expected to remain stable in the medium term. Food security challenges in Switzerland include the decline in agricultural land area per capita, higher incidence of extreme weather events and increased pressure from pests.
Different cultural backgrounds lead to different uptake of biodiversity agri-environmental schemes at the inner-Swiss French-German language border. Economic policy incentives could mitigate culture-driven behavioral differences.