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Farm produce harvests little profit

The price of milk is not flying high in Switzerland Keystone

A new study has found that Switzerland makes virtually no money from agricultural produce such as meat, potatoes and milk.

A research project by Agrarplattform – a group representing Swiss farmers, processors and retailers – found that profit margins were practically non-existent.

Experts say that without farm subsidies and tariffs, the agriculture sector would be unable to survive.

Switzerland’s leading food retailer, Migros – which set up the group – called the findings “shocking and sobering”.

The group was established in 2001 to address the concerns of Swiss farmers who claimed that supermarkets were making profits at their expense.

They said the main supermarkets were not paying farmers enough for their products and protested against the lowering of prices on some agricultural goods to bring them into line with European averages.

Raw deal

But according to Agrarplattform, all of those involved in the production and sale of agricultural produce in Switzerland are losing out.

For example, dairy producers lose 14 centimes per kilogram of milk, while processors and retailers lose 18 and nine centimes respectively.

Meat producers fare little better, according to Annalisa Meyer, a spokeswoman for FocusGruppe Fleisch, who says there is not much opportunity for profit making.

The results of the study come as the Geneva-based World Trade Organization (WTO) is looking to wrap up a deal that would cut farm tariffs and subsidies in developed countries.

Swiss farmers say the plans by the WTO could lead to the death of the sector in Switzerland.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR