5 Nov 2014
Swiss Policies for more Food Security
by Christian Häberli, World Trade Institute
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. Nonetheless, the food security contribution by the four sectoral policies involved is mutually constrained: our agriculture is heavily subsidised and protected by the world’s highest tariffs. These inefficiencies also prevent trade and investment policies which would keep markets open, development policies giving African farmers the tools to become more competitive, and supply policies which would work against speculators. Is there a solution? Without new international agreements, further market openings and a consequent “recoupling” of taxpayer support to public goods production remain highly unlikely. To the very minimum Switzerland should resume the agricultural reform process, prevent predatory behaviour of its investors in developing countries, and regionalise its food reserve strategy.