The purpose of this paper is to analyse the manner in which agriculture fulfils the obligations relating to its contribution to decentralised settlement and the respective measures implemented by the Federation. In the first stage, we investigate the role of agriculture in the situation threatening decentralised settlement and come to the conclusion that the sector only makes a significant contribution to decentralised settlement in a relatively low number of boroughs in Switzerland. We then look into the question of the costs of decentralised settlement in today’s agricultural policy system. Our results show that the flow of funds generated by the Federation with a view to promoting decentralised settlement are not entirely justifiable under the terms of Art. 104c of the Federal Constitution. Thus, Switzerland pays for agriculture with small-scale structures whose constitutional obligation, namely a significant contribution to decentralised settlement, is only partially fulfilled.
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.