Direct marketing in the agricultural sector is becoming increasingly important in Switzerland. Between 2010 and 2016, this business sector recorded an increase of 60 % across Switzerland, measured as the number of farms adopting this form of marketing. A cross-sectional comparison of the Canton of Bern was used to investigate the extent to which the structure of direct marketing differs for two farming groups: organic farms and non-organic farms. Data from 2018 show that organic farms are much more active in direct marketing than farms that do not produce according to organic standards. In the agricultural Plains zone, 44% of organic farms use direct marketing, whereas for non-organic farms the figure is 11%. In the Mountain zone III, the proportion of organic farms rises to 98%, while that of non-organic farms is 7%. In the other zones, use of direct marketing is around four times higher for organic farms than for non-organic farms. In relation to the ratio of sales from direct marketing to other operating turnover, no significant difference (a = 5%) could be established between the two groups (organic and non-organic farming ). However, large differences within the groups could be identified. The ratio of sales from direct marketing to other operating turnover ranges from low single-digit percentages to over 130 %. Organic farms in the Canton of Bern generated median sales of around CHF 15 000 through direct marketing, whereas for non-organic farms the figure was around CHF 25 000.
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.