The obvious need, in the context trade liberalisation, for further reforming public support for agriculture in Switzerland currently generates lively political debates among affected interest groups. However, a basic understanding of the important public-good issues involved is frequently lacking in these discussions. Currently, only a small fraction of the subsidies are tightly linked to explicit public-good agri-environmental services. We argue that future agricultural support will largely depend on whether the agri-environmental services can be well specified and specifically financed. Public support will have to be provided for the specific services demanded by the public in a “political market for public goods”. Farmers as enterpreneurs may participate in this market on their own accord. Departing from established economic concepts and drawing on empirical evidence about Swiss demands for agri-environmental policy, this article aims to contribute towards a demand-oriented agricultural policy.
Employment in the agricultural sector is declining in many European countries, especially in livestock farming. Direct payments can counter this trend and lead to the employment of more – especially female – family members on the farm.
Despite the current challenges of e.g. the war in Ukraine and climate change, the Swiss food sector is relatively resilient. This is the conclusion reached by Agroscope’s report on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office for National Economic Supply.
The pandemic has influenced not only our everyday life but also our behaviour. Agroscope looked at which population groups and behaviours experienced or underwent particularly significant changes, and what this means for our health.