Swiss Policies for more Food Security

Häberli, Christian (5 November 2014). Swiss Policies for more Food Security (NCCR Trade Working Paper 23). World Trade Institute

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Resource-poor yet blissful Switzerland is also one of the most food-secure countries in the world: there are abundant food supplies, relatively low retail prices in terms of purchasing power parity, with few poverty traps. Domestic production covers 70% of net domestic consumption. A vast and efficient food reserve scheme insures against import disruptions.
Nonetheless, the food security contribution by the four sectoral policies involved is mutually constrained: our agriculture is protected by the world’s highest tariffs. Huge subsidies, surface payments, and some production quotas substitute market signals with rent maximisation. Moreover, these inefficiencies also prevent trade and investment policies which would keep markets open, development policies which would provide African farmers with the tools to become more competitive, and supply policies which would work against speculators. The paralysing effect of Swiss agricultural policies is exacerbated by new “food security subsidies” in the name of “food sovereignty” while two pending people’s initiatives might yet increase the splendid isolation which in effect reduce Swiss farmer competitiveness and global food security.
Is there a solution? Absent a successful conclusion of the Doha Round (WTO) or a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) further market openings and a consequent “recoupling” of taxpayer support to public goods production remain highly un-likely. To the very minimum Switzerland should resume the agricultural reform process, join other countries trying to prevent predatory behaviour of its investors in developing countries, and regionalise its food reserve.

Item Type:

Working Paper


02 Faculty of Law > Department of Economic Law > NCCR International Trade Regulation

UniBE Contributor:

Häberli, Christian Martin


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 340 Law


NCCR Trade Working Paper


World Trade Institute


[4] Swiss National Science Foundation


[UNSPECIFIED] NCCR Trade Regulation




Christian Häberli

Date Deposited:

12 Feb 2015 11:56

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:40




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