As Swiss agriculture full product costs are considerably higher than those of neighbouring countries, the improvement of its competitiveness by cutting costs is very important. Three possible strategies are conceivable. Firstly, increasing the size of farms allows to achieve economies of scale, thus to reduce the cost per unit. Additional land is an important prerequisite for growth, but is very scarce in Switzerland. Secondly, co-operations are an alternative to growth on a single farm basis. Surveys show, however, that more intensive forms of co-operation such as farming collectives or collectives on a production branch basis are hardly a farm manager’s first choice. Thirdly, a considerable variation can be observed in earned income, not only in the agricultural sector as a whole but also between structurally similar farms. This indicates that even without individual farm growth or joint ventures there is a considerable potential for boosting efficiency and hence for cost cutting.
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.
The agricultural sector as an aggregate proved resilient to the COVID-19 shock. But how did it impact agribusiness firms within the sector? Using the Swiss case, we provide the first set of evidence on how agri-food importing firms survived the pandemic economically.
Agricultural economics research uses a multitude of methods and approaches to assess existing and new policy measures. This is the basis for agricultural policy that demonstrably makes a difference, i.e. is evidence-based.