Agricultural Policy, Agricultural Markets and Value Chains

We analyse agricultural and food policies and value chains with the relevant stakeholders. We then identify ways in which they could be improved and formulate policy recommendations.

We undertake quantitative and qualitative analysis of agricultural and food policies, analysis of changing agricultural markets and simulation of diverse political and economic scenarios. We also analyse whole value chains with the stakeholders at the centre and investigate pricing and quality criteria at the various levels.


Impact analysis and evaluation of agricultural and food policy

  • Macro-level economic cost-benefit analyses for the agricultural and food sector
  • Macro-level economic analyses of value chains and productivity
  • Analysis of the effects of political measures on farms of various types

Quantitative and qualitative analysis of free trade agreements

  • Impact analysis of changing agricultural markets
  • Analysis of the effects of free trade agreements and other economic scenarios on the Swiss agricultural and food system

Value chains

  • Economic analysis of value chains
  • Analysis of sub-value chains and strategic stakeholder groups
  • Analysis of the complementarity of measures that are taken
  • Analysis of the political and institutional setting
  • Analysis of competition and pricing
  • Analysis of value distribution in the value chain

Quality economics

  • Differentiation strategy with a focus on quality
  • Classification of products
  • Certification processes
  • Drawing up a requirements specification
  • Setting prices and producing a quality evaluation grid

Value chain governance

  • Coordination of value chains
  • Governance structures and operations of professional associations and sector organisations
  • Supporting role in the establishment and management of collective organisations


The main aim of the study is to evaluate the current product marketing situation and devise possible strategies for improving producer prices. The study looks at six value chains: milk and milk products, beef and pork, poultry for meat production, vegetables, potatoes, and bread cereals. We first examine the present situation in each value chain in detail. This involves a review of the literature and statistics and bilateral talks with experts and professionals working on the sales front. We also produce precise and validated maps of the value chains and identify the strategic stakeholder groups. Professionals and representatives of various agencies then take part in a joint workshop in order to select realistic strategic approaches and discuss the required financial and non-financial support. We are conducting the study with AGRIDEA on behalf of ILFD (Direktion der Institutionen und der Land- und Forstwirtschaft) in Freiburg canton.

What is the economic situation of agriculture in the French-speaking part of Switzerland in 2015? How should it position itself strategically? The study has three parts: statistical analysis of the structures and economic situation of agriculture in the region, strategic analysis of 20 typical farms distributed across various cantons and analysis of four agricultural value chains, namely bread cereals, wine, milk and poultry meat. This study was commissioned by AGORA (Association des groupements et organisations romands de l’agriculture).

This study lays the groundwork for an objective discussion of the effects on Swiss agriculture of a broad opening of the market, taking the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as an example. We also analyse various possible options for Switzerland – at political and sectoral level – if such an agreement is signed.

On behalf of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), we are investigating the potential of selective autonomous measures to reduce border protection in the agriculture and food sector. The study contributes to the discussion of Switzerland as a ‘high-price island’; food is an important factor in this since producer and consumer prices for food are higher than in neighbouring countries. The aim is to identify products that have unnecessary or unnecessarily high tariff protection that could be reduced without adversely affecting domestic agricultural production. The focus is on four categories of products or tariffs: products of no relevance to Swiss agriculture, specific particularly high tariffs, unnecessary or unnecessarily high protection in the quota regime, and explicit or implicit industry protection arising from tariffs for processed agricultural products. The effects of the possible reductions on trade flows, the processing sector and price transmission in the value chain are also evaluated.

With the Young Farmers’ Commission (JULA) we have launched a cooperation project to analyse the success factors involved in boosting added value, with a focus on the milk market. The question is how value added can be increased in the current situation, including in individual projects. Are there key factors that promote an increase in added value? We also analyse how organisation of the sector in the market and at political level can promote or even trigger increases in added value.

Fish production in Switzerland is currently booming. The Swiss are eating more fish than ever before. Domestic fish production accounts for only a fraction of total consumption. Fish breeding is a promising line of business for Swiss farmers. However, spatial planning law and the status of fish as wild animals mean that fish production is permitted only as a sideline. As a result, some farmers have been forced to stop fish production after a relatively short time. In addition, some farmers have underestimated the financial and technical challenges or lacked sufficient understanding of the value chain. This is partly because there has been no public overview of the Swiss fish market. In the light of the Directive on the Promotion of Quality and Sustainability in the Agriculture and Food Sector (QuNaV) issued by the Federal Office of Agriculture (FOAG) and with financial support from the Swiss Farmers’ Association (Schweizer Bauernverband) and Fenaco we have closed this gap and produced an analysis of the Swiss fish market. The aim was to provide an overview and identify potentials along the value chain.

The achievement of the first two Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – end poverty and hunger by 2030 – requires substantial investments. Empowering young agri-entrepreneurs to invest in farms and businesses along agricultural value chains is crucial to achieving these global goals by 2030.

The new strategic planning tool developed by FAO and BFH-HAFL, with contributions from Comité national suisse de la FAO (CNS-FAO), analyses the current challenges of young investors and offers actionable solutions. The tool can help propel investments by young agri-entrepreneurs at national or regional levels, and help ensure their sustainability. It analyses the current environment and overall conditions young investors face while offering practical solutions to overcome the main challenges identified. The strategic planning tool also helps ensure that decision-makers take ownership of the results through a participatory and inclusie process.

The tool was deployed in Tunisia in collaboration with the Rural Economy Laboratory of the National Agricultural Research Institute of Tunisia (INRAT) and the Agricultural Investment Promotion Agency (APIA).



Are you interested in working with us or would you like to know more about our research activities in the field of agricultural policy and agricultural markets? Please contact us.