The main farmers’ group in Switzerland has renewed its criticism of plans by the government to open up the agriculture sector to increased international competition.
At its annual news conference on Wednesday, the Farmers’ Associationexternal link said it was impossible to produce under fair conditions in a country like Switzerland and compete with world market prices.
Many farmers preferred earning their money outside the agricultural sector as low prices meant a low income. They contributed most to the value of a product, but gained the least, senior politicians warned.
They said dairy farmers suffered in particular as they could not afford to make investments in their businesses.
“We need appropriate prices which cover the costs and allow farmers to invest,” said Markus Ritter, president of the Farmers’ Association and member of parliament for the centrist Christian Democratic Party.
Adèle Thorens, a parliamentarian for the Green Party, added that a people’s initiative aimed at promoting fair trade would force the government to fight for better conditions for all farmers in the world.
In a joint appeal, both the farmers and the Green Party called on the government to reconsider its future agricultural policy.
swissinfo.ch with agencies/ug