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Future of farming Plans for opening agriculture markets shelved

An employee weighing cheese wheels

The government plans are aimed at encouraging dairy farmers to produce more raw milk for special cheeses.

(Keystone)

The government wants to push ahead with plans to consolidate the Swiss agriculture sector and make it more environment-friendly.

Presenting a draft proposal for the years 2022-2025, Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said the Swiss agriculture sector had to become more independent, market-oriented and competitive.

The government subsidies will remain largely unchanged at CHF13.9 billion ($13.4 billion) over four years.

Under the proposals, the regulations for cheese exports are to be reviewed and regulations introduced to ensure that the use of pesticide in agriculture is restricted.

Schneider-Ammann, who is to step down at the end of the year, stressed the importance of reducing bureaucracy and giving farmers more self-responsibility as entrepreneurs.

“Quality and sustainability are key factors of our policy,” Schneider-Ammann told a news conference on Wednesday.

However, controversial plans presented last year to reduce import tariffs for agriculture products and boost free trade agreements were dropped, following harsh criticism by the main farmers group and parliament.

The latest proposals will be sent to political parties, organisations and institutions for consultation before the government finalises its bill to parliament next year.

swissinfo.ch/urs

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