The Farmers Journal has looked at farming in countries that have a close trading relationship with the European Union (EU) but are not members. Last week, we examined farming in Norway and found that its role in food provision and countryside maintenance was truly valued by government. Now, in the first of a two-part series on Switzerland, we look at the direct and indirect support for farming and its importance despite its relatively small contribution to GDP at 0.75%.

The Swiss governing system may appear cumbersome from the outside, with 26 cantons that have considerable administrative autonomy (think county councils with enhanced powers). However, the system works for farming. The relationship is based on the Swiss constitution, which specifies that farmers have a “mandate to make an essential contribution to ensuring a secure supply of food for the general population through their production”.