The Swiss economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, has called for more of a free market-oriented agriculture. In a newspaper interview, he said there would be fewer farmers in future, but pledged to continue state agricultural subsidies.
Speaking in the "Berner Zeitung", Couchepin said he supported the government policy paper for agriculture, Horizon 2010, which calls for, among other things, a reduction of milk production quotas or market subsidies.
Couchepin said the current SFr4 billion in state subsidies would continue, but promised further structural changes. He said that over the next few years, the number of farms would continue to decrease by two to three per cent.
The cabinet minister also stressed that farmers must strive to become entrepreneurs and adapt themselves to the market. He said the World Trade Organisation's agricultural policies would set the tune for Switzerland over the next ten years.
swissinfo with agencies
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