Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Zurich

Renewable raw materials in Switzerland

Besides food, agriculture can produce renewable raw materials as well. These vegetable products such as fibres, oil, carbohydrates or special components can be used in a wide range of industrial applications. Within the EU-project IENICA, the European countries analysed their use of renewable raw material at present. The project focused on the industrial application in the non-food sector in the field of agriculture, application and market of oil, fibres, carbohydrate and medicinal crops. In Switzerland, only a few value chains were built up using renewable materials in the last ten years, although the government supports cultivation of oil and fibre plants. Only the sector of medicinal plants seems to be successful. It is quite difficult to find general reasons to explain the limited importance of renewable raw materials in Switzerland due to the wide range of industrial applications. Price and quality seem to be the most important factors for the success of products based on renewable materials. The value chain between farmer and consumer has to be optimized. The preparation of the report showed quite clearly that an office dealing with all questions about renewable materials would be very preferable in Switzerland.

To the archive