Thursday, October 06, 2005

Swiss to reform farm support

Switzerland is one of just five countries in the world with Producer Subsidy Equivalents calculated by the OECD at over the 60 per cent level. But now the Swiss Government has set out measures to make sharp cuts in support and liberalise markets. The government is planning to make significant expenditure cuts in a number of product sectors, abolish export subsidies, reduce tariffs on feed grain and switch from market support to direct aid payments, thus following the model of the EU.

The leader of the Swiss Farmers' Union, Jacques Bourgeois [sic] complained, 'Farms will face average income reductions of 20 per cent. This is totally unreasonable as farm incomes are already more than 40 per cent below those in other branches of industry.' However, the government is determined to promote the trend towards fewer, larger farms. One wonders about the future of those high alpine farms that so delight tourists to Switzerland.

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