In the last few years, and since the abolition of the minimum exchange rate by the Swiss National Bank in January 2015, the Swiss franc has appreciated strongly against all currencies of Switzerland’s most important trading partners. With the help of empirical models, we analyse how strongly aggregate exports of the agri-food sector react to an appreciation of the Swiss franc. According to our analysis, a one-time appreciation of 1 % leads on average to a temporary decline in exports of approx. 0.8 % after four quarters. This lagged effect could be the result of long-term contracts and inert consumption habits. By contrast, a sustained appreciation in which the Swiss franc appreciates by 1 % each quarter leads on average to a permanent decrease in exports of approx. 0.9 % per quarter. The estimated exchange rate effects for agri-food exports are therefore of the same order of magnitude as those for aggregate Swiss exports. Hence, agri-food sector exports also prove remarkably resilient to exchange rate fluctuations. The reason for this may be that businesses in this sector are also able to successfully differentiate their products on the basis of quality, and hence are able – at least in part – to avoid price competition abroad.
Policies to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions are more effective and more efficient if they are set at the regional level and not at the level of individual farms. This can help achieve climate targets.
Global food availability is expected to remain stable in the medium term. Food security challenges in Switzerland include the decline in agricultural land area per capita, higher incidence of extreme weather events and increased pressure from pests.
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.