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Growing pains Subsidies leave smaller farmers struggling

With 2015 seeing a decrease in earnings, smaller producers are also feeling the consequences of an agricultural policy that they say favours larger and more cost efficient farms. (SRF/

For Swiss farmers, 2015 wasn’t a successful year. At the beginning of October, the Federal Statistical Office estimated that farmers’ incomes would on average be 11% lower than the previous year.

Part of farmers’ incomes are direct government subsidies. One of the effects of the agricultural policy for 2014-2017 is that larger farms are favoured over smaller ones, making it difficult for farms with smaller turnarounds to make ends meet.

The agricultural policy for 2014-2017 was developed in 2012 as an update of previous policies. These would enable the agricultural sector to deal with future challenges and meet population needs. The main aim of the policy is to increase the services provided by farmers, making an efficient use of resources and minimising the negative effects on the environment.

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