Alpine products are niche products that generate public interest. In an investigation of the supply situation in six Swiss case study regions, 262 producers from summering farms were surveyed. The results show that the most important of the produced and marketed alpine products is alpine cheese, which is often sold directly to consumers and in small quantities. While production of alpine cheese in Switzerland has increased in the past years, the variety of alpine products on offer has remained stable in 85 % of the participating summer farms. Apart from the traditional alpine gastronomy, few services are provided by summer farms. Tradition and livestock are the most important reasons for the production of alpine products. The cooperation rate of farms in the production and marketing of alpine products is low. Although 63 % of the producers find it important to differentiate «Alpine» and «Mountain» products, only 31 % agree upon the desirability of establishing a label for alpine products. Overall, the supply side tends to cling to tradition, yet potential for extension and further development exists.
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.