Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, Bern

Agricultural policy 2011: background, strategy, measures

On 17 May 2006 the Federal Council submitted a package of agricultural policy proposal to parliament (Agricultural Policy 2011). The proposed changes to 6 federal laws constitute a further step in the reform of Swiss agricultural policy that was instigated 15 years ago. The Federal Council thereby pursues three aims. Firstly, the potential for lowering costs in the food sector should be exploited in order to reduce costs incurred by Swiss consumers and tax-payers. At the same time, this should make the Swiss agricultural and food sector less sensitive to the effects of potential future trade liberalization. Secondly, the reform measures should be introduced at a pace which is socially acceptable to agriculture. And finally, the progress achieved over the past few years with regard to ecological aspects should be consolidated and agriculture should be encouraged to make further improvements. The key feature of the Agricultural Policy 2011 is a reduction of 50% in market subsidies with the savings thus made being used for direct payments. The overall payment ceiling for

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