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Calls for green and cut-price farming

Increased efforts are necessary to boost the sustainability and competitive edge of Switzerland’s agriculture sector according to federal authorities.

The head of the Federal Agriculture Office, Bernard Lehmann, warned that the strong Swiss franc was placing additional pressure on the farming sector.

He called for agricultural products and services to be positioned on markets “as favourably as possible”.

Lehmann added that investment in agriculture and state subsidies could contribute towards lowering prices to improve the sector’s competitiveness.

Exports of Swiss agriculture products reached a record value of SFr7.8 billion ($9 billion) last year, while imports stagnated at about SFr11.5 billion in the same period, according to the annual agriculture report released on Monday.

Imports from European Union countries accounted for 77 per cent, while exports stood at 62 per cent.

The number of Swiss farms decreased by nearly two per cent in 2010 to just over 59,000 entities; the total workforce in the agriculture sector dropped to 167,500 people.

The office also pledged to cooperate closely with other government ministries, farmers’ organisations, the industry and consumers to reduce greenhouse gases and fight global warming.

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