The development of the direct payment system will include new contributions for ensuring the food supply. These contributions aim at achieving optimal use of natural production potential and shall thereby help to maintain the full production capacity of agriculture in Switzerland. Precondition for the payment of subsidies for ensuring the food supply on grassland will depend on a minimum stock density of roughage-consuming animals per hectare. Negative effects of the current contributions for roughage-consuming animals will be reduced or totally eliminated by the means of the new system of direct payments. The new concept will also ensure increased land mobility and make it easier for the farmers concerned to predict their future income.
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.