Less Organic Farms, more Organic Land in Switzerland
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
The number of organic farms in Switzerland has declined for the first time in 25 years according to the organic food organisation, Bio Suisse. The group, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, says that organic farming has not been spared from agricultural changes but the Swiss are still champions when it comes to buying organic produce.
At a news conference end of March in the capital, Bern, the president of Bio Suisse, Regina Fuhrer said, that there were 6,114 organic farms in Switzerland last year, a decline of 166 or 2.6 % compared with the previous year.
"Farms disappear for economic reasons or for lack of people to take them over – organic farming is not spared from structural changes. Other farmers are abandoning organic farming altogether or adopt less strict regulations as laid down by the government," Fuhrer commented. While the number of farms has declined, the area cultivated has increased from 112,000 hectares to 113,000 hectares.
Organic farms account for 11 % of farms, with many of them located in Swiss mountain regions. Bio Suisse has certified just over a half of all farms in canton Graubünden as organic (a record 50.3 per cent), while canton Bern represents the national average with one in ten of its farms carrying out organic agriculture. The market for organic food declined slightly (0.5 per cent) last year to Swiss Francs 1.183 billion (752 million Euro). On average, the Swiss spend SFr 160 (101 Euro) per person a year on organic produce, a world record, according to Swiss spokeswoman Jacqueline Forster-Zigerli.
75 % of sales were channelled through the two big Swiss retailers, Coop and Migros, with 8 % of total Coop turnover from products bearing the Bio Suisse certification label– a bud.