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Farming in Switzerland becomes less attractive

There has been a further reduction in the number of farms in Switzerland, with the figure dropping from 63,600 to 61,800 over the past two years.

The Federal Statistics Office said on Thursday that mostly small farm holdings were affected.

Since 2000, Switzerland has seen a 12 per cent decrease in the total number of farms.

However, the size of the average Swiss farm has increased over the same period. More than one in five holdings has 25 hectares or more whereas the figure was only 16 per cent in 2000.

The average farm now has 17.2 hectares of land compared with 16.8 in 2005.

Organic farms fared little better with 3.4 per cent – or 200 holdings – being shut down by their owners over the past two years. Organic operations account for about ten per cent of all Swiss farms.

An interesting development, the Statistics Office said, is the diversification of animal husbandry.

Farms with goats and horses increased by 27 and 20 per cent respectively, and nearly doubling since 2000 is the number of holdings with exotic animals such as bison, deer, llamas and alpacas.

Cattle herds still dominate the Swiss farming landscape, with numbers remaining stable at around 1.5 million animals.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR