Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART, CH-8356 Ettenhausen

Organic Agriculture: Why so few farms convert

Organic farming recorded significant growth in Switzerland, especially between 1990 and 2005, and won the support of both farmers and consumers. Despite this, organic farms are noticeably underrepresented in the arable farm regions; this situation is certainly due to the usually greater demands placed on farm conversion in these regions than in grassland. A survey of around 600 organic and PEP arable farms was conducted to determine which factors deter farmers from converting. The greatest fears expressed were the weeds pressure and the increased work needed for their control, the insufficient profitability resulting from too-low surcharges on product prices, problems in nutrient supply and the too strict or too frequently changing guidelines. The results of the organic arable farm survey show that these fears are only partially justified. Increasing neighbourly exchanges should therefore promote the expansion of organic farming.

To the archive