Institute of Agricultural Ecomonics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich

Agricultural policy 2011 – hang on, liberalise or economise?

The current discussion about agricultural policy 2011 is taking place primarily among experts, politicians and those who represent agricultural interests. We aim to make the public at large aware of developments in agriculture by illustrating the relationships between the market, politics and developments in agricultural structures. To this end, we create photo-realistic illustrations of future land use, the development of which we assess using an agricultural sector model. The differences in the scenarios relating to developments in basic conditions depend primarily on whether or not Switzerland becomes integrated into the European markets. When prices fall and agricultural support remains unchanged, farms turn to more extensive land utilisation and reduce their numbers of livestock, regardless of the assumed market environment. In addition, arable farming will be seriously restricted under European market conditions. If agricultural contributions are also reduced by 50% there will no longer be any incentive to turn to extensive farming practices under Swiss market conditions.

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