The best 17 % of Swiss farms were able to match Baden-Württemberg in respect of total productivity; the proportion for net labour productivity was around one quarter. This is the result of a study aiming at determining the position of Swiss agriculture in an international comparison of productivity. As the climatic and topographic conditions of the regions compared are similar, it is clear that Swiss agriculture has a potential for productivity improvement. An analysis was made on the basis of data from the Swiss Farm Accountancy Data Network and the EU Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN). Baden-Württemberg was selected as the comparison region, since the topographic and climatic conditions in this region are most comparable with conditions in Switzerland. Baden-Württemberg’s accountancy figures were adjusted to Swiss price and direct payment conditions in order to take account of the differences in the agricultural policies of Switzerland and the German federal state. The comparison was based on the two key productivity figures, total productivity and labour productivity.
To balance their nutrient cycles, Swiss farms export surplus farmyard manure to farms with free uptake capacities or to composting and anaerobic digestion facilities. Between 2015 and 2020 the volumes of organic manure and recycled fertilisers transported rose significantly, with a consequent increase in transport costs.
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.