The Director of Federal Office for Agriculture, BLW Bern., Professor Dr. Bernard Lehmann, has revealed that Switzerland imports 50 percent of its food regardless of what is produced by their farmers.
According to him, unavailability of land ‘fuels’ the continuous importation of food from other countries, to complement what is been produced locally. A situation he describes as worrying.
He further explained that it is costly to produce food in Switzerland due to the high cost of land acquisition.
In 2016, fruit and vegetables were the most commonly imported agricultural products, in terms of value, the most common exports were not cheese or chocolate, but beverages containing water, and coffee.
In spite of these challenges, the confederation, he noted, is making sure that agriculture, through a sustainable and market-orientated production, contributes to a reliable food provision preservation.
Addressing group of international journalists who participated in the just ended 2018 Swiss Press Tour at Schüpfheim in Entlebuch, Prof. Bernard observed that the confederation spent some 5.3 percent of its total budget on supporting food production in 2017.
This was done in order to ensure sustainable market and food for its citizenry, he added.
The geography of Switzerland encompasses the geographical features of Switzerland, a mountainous and landlocked country located in Western and Central Europe.
In order to guarantee the supply of food to the population, the Confederation shall create the required conditions for safeguarding the basis for agricultural production, and agricultural land, in particular, he hinted.
He said the country’s agriculture activities have been zoned into four sectors, considering the nature of its landscape.
‘That is to say, 29 percent of Swiss farms are mountain farms, 29 percent part-time farms and 11 percent organic farms. The country has 55000 farms with an average farm size of 18.6 hectors.
Since the early 20th century, Switzerland’s resident population has grown by a factor of 2.5 to over 8.4 million in 2016. At the same time, breeding and technical progress in agriculture have seen food production increase.
This meant that around 60 percent of consumption, in terms of usable energy, has been covered by domestic production over the past 20 years.
In his presentation, Professor noted that the Swiss Confederation would want to maintain an agriculture which contributes to the food security of Switzerland under two expensive conditions.
This, noted is “smaller structures than international, peasant farms, and in Switzerland, a costly place, price level, topography.