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Schweizer Bundesamt für Statistik (BFS):

The weather is putting a strain on Swiss agriculture in 2021

Swiss agriculture is expected to generate gross value added of CHF 4.1 billion in 2021, down 6.6% on the previous year. Total production is declining, while production costs are on an upward trend. Crop production has been affected by the weather, while animal production continues to increase. These initial estimates for the current year are based on the agricultural accounts compiled by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

Based on the initial estimates, the FSO expects the total output of Swiss agriculture to amount to 11.2 billion Swiss francs in 2021. This is 2.1% less than in 2020. Expenditure on intermediate inputs (feed, energy, fertilizer, maintenance and repairs, etc.) will amount to CHF 7.0 billion, which is 0.7% higher than in the previous year.

Gross value added, which is the difference between production value and intermediate inputs, reaches 4.1 billion Swiss francs, a reduction of 6.6% compared to 2020 (-7.0% excluding inflation). With an estimated 0.8% decline in labor volume, labor productivity declines by 6.3% between 2020 and 2021, but is still 26% higher than in 2000.

Historic drops in crop production
The cold spring, frost after the start of vegetation, hail, a rainy summer with sodden soils, and little sunshine are severely affecting crop production. Compared to 2020, the production value of these crops will decrease by 9.0% to an estimated 3.8 billion Swiss francs.

Regarding stone fruit, especially apricots and plums, one of the weakest harvests in the past two decades was recorded. The hay harvest was difficult. The grain harvest was delayed and mixed, resulting in a 13% drop in the production value of grain. The production value of potatoes is down as well (-15%) and sugar beets, whose acreage is shrinking, have also suffered (-14%).

Demand for domestic vegetables remains strong, but production decreased (-5%). Viticulture already experienced a difficult year in 2020. In 2021, the situation tends to worsen, as mildew was added to the unfavorable weather. One of the weakest harvests in recent decades is expected. As a result, the production value of grapes and wine is expected to plummet by 17% compared to 2020.

Production costs are rising
In 2021, production costs (inputs, depreciation, wages, rents, debt interest and production taxes) will increase by 0.7% compared to 2020. The slightly higher depreciation (CHF 2.1 billion, +0.6%) is explained by the increase in prices of capital goods (buildings, machinery, etc.), which is only partially compensated by the decrease in productive assets of Swiss agriculture. Salaries of employees (CHF 1.3 billion, +0.6%) are estimated to be slightly higher than in 2020, while the development of rents (CHF 0.5 billion, +1.3%) reflects the increase in prices and the growth of leased agricultural land.

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