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Weather causes havoc with harvest

Farmers have reported large fruit and vegetable harvests in 2007, but have said that the quality was largely mediocre.

According to the Swiss Farmers' Association, this was largely due to the weather, which was either too dry or too wet.

The very warm spring and a changeable, often wet summer resulted in many harvests being affected by disease, said the association.

Grain harvests were down by 20 per cent this year compared with 2006. Farmers also signalled spoiled potato and sugar beet crops.

Livestock farmers reported better market conditions, especially for chicken sales, which in 2006 had been affected by bird flu concerns.

Milk prices rose worldwide in 2007 following a shortage of milk powder and increased demand from countries including China. This led to Swiss farmers successfully lobbying for higher milk prices as well.

Animals account for nearly three-quarters of agricultural production and around three-fifths of food consumed in Switzerland is produced domestically. Swiss agriculture is one of the most protected in the world.

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