MIL-OSI Translation: 30 years of direct payments – successes and challenges

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MIL OSI Translation. Government of the Republic of France statements from French to English –

Source: Switzerland – Department of Foreign Affairs in French

Federal Office of Agriculture

Bern, 21.11.2023 – The Federal Office of Agriculture (FOAG) has summarized the main figures and trends in agriculture and the agri-food sector for the previous year in the 2023 agricultural report. The current agricultural report puts the spotlight on the direct payments system, introduced 30 years ago, and describes its evolution.

On June 1, 1993, the Confederation introduced the new complementary and ecological direct payments. This was a turning point in agricultural policy: direct payments made it possible to decouple price and income policy, while creating targeted incentives for greener agriculture. This laid the foundations for more sustainable and market-oriented agriculture in Switzerland. In the 2023 agricultural report, the FOAG therefore takes a retrospective look at 30 years of direct payments.

The direct payment system is reaching its limits Direct payments, which currently represent a financial volume of 2.8 billion francs per year, are, with customs protection, one of the main instruments of Swiss agricultural policy. However, they are increasingly reaching their limits: the system of direct payments has in fact become very complex due to the increasing differentiation of contributions. It is also clear that societal objectives, particularly in the environmental field, cannot be achieved solely through financial incentives and measures focused exclusively on agriculture. In the postulate report “Future orientation of agricultural policy”, the Federal Council shows that the future agricultural policy must integrate all actors in the food supply chain (food systems approach) and it presents possible avenues for development direct payments.

Preference for animal products of Swiss origin Commissioned by the FOAG, the market research institute Demoscope carried out a representative survey in 2023 on the subject of the purchasing behavior of the Swiss population. The results show that consumers favor Swiss agricultural products, particularly for eggs (77%), fresh milk and dairy products (65%), meat and potatoes (58% each). The people interviewed attach importance to short distribution channels and the high quality of these products, and they want to support Swiss agriculture.

Soy cultivation increases by almost 30%. In 2022, the useful agricultural area in Switzerland was 1,042,014 hectares, that is to say twice the area of the canton of Valais, of which 58% is meadows and pastures. natural and 38% field crops. The remaining 4% is made up in particular of vineyard areas and fruit crops.

This year, crop-specific contributions were made for grain legumes for the first time. Over the last ten years, soybean cultivation has increased significantly, reaching an area of 2895 hectares in 2022 (29.2%), compared to 2240 hectares in 2021. Overall, the soybean area is still relatively small, but it has almost tripled in ten years. Due to the growing demand for Swiss grain legumes intended for human consumption, further expansion of areas is to be expected.

Self-sufficiency down due to bad weather In 2021, the self-sufficiency rate fell sharply in Switzerland: the gross rate thus stood at 52% and the net rate at 45%, i.e. the lowest values since the revision of the food balance in 2007. The low indigenous production of plant foodstuffs, itself due to very bad weather conditions in 2021, is mainly at the origin of this decline.

Every year, the Federal Office of Agriculture (FOAG) summarizes the main figures and trends in agriculture and the agri-food sector in the agricultural report. The agricultural report provides data on the economic, ecological and social consequences of agricultural policy.

Agroscope published a press release on agricultural income figures on November 21, 2023. These will be integrated into the 2023 agricultural report at a later date.

Address for sending questions

Françoise Tschanz, OFAG Communication and Linguistic Services sector, tel. 41 58 462 80 59; e-mail:


Federal Office of Agriculture

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

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