In a bid to encourage biodiversity, the cabinet wants to give financial incentives to Swiss farmers. It says the proposed scheme is aimed at improving the "ecological quality" of Swiss agriculture.This content was published on April 4, 2001 - 14:18
Announcing the plan on Wednesday, the cabinet said it wanted to encourage farmers to grow a wide variety of flora on pastures that also support a range of animals.
Farmers who take advantage of the programme, which is due to get underway next month, will receive an annual sum of SFr500 ($293) per hectare of "bio-diverse" land. Farmers who cultivate fruit trees will receive a further SFr20 per year.
The cabinet is also trying to encourage cantons to improve meadows, hedges, orchards, copses and other terrains which support a large variety of plants, insects, birds and mammals.
The ministry of agriculture said farmers would be free to participate in the scheme, although they are unsure how much it will cost the government.
It will be left up to the cantons to coordinate efforts to increase the number of "bio-diverse" land in the country. They will pay between 10 and 30 per cent of the subsidies for the programme.
swissinfo with agencies
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