Wednesday, September 6, 2017

What does it take for successful farm diversification? a comparison between Italy and Switzerland

It is a while since i have been looking in farm diversification in Europe as a way to support livelihoods of farming families. Yesterday night, the Swiss TV has shown a very interesting comparison between Italy and Switzerland in farm diversification in agri- tourism.

Swiss farmers diversify much less than their neigbors, because the return to labor in agro-tourism is low compared to other farm activities. In Tirol, next door, farmer are benefiting massively from agro-tourism and expand. So  how comes that their return on labor in tourism is so much higher compared to other activities?

This small feature suggests that farmers in Tirol are very well organized, and promote themselves as a group. They have adjusted their other activities in a way that it is easy to combine with agro-tourism, because they clearly have a big demand from tourism.
A model for Switzerland ? i guess we are trapped here between demand creation (is there demand in Switzerland where everything is so expensive for agro -tourism?) and between farmers starting to show innovation. Clearly there are very few farmers in Switzerland to took up the bet of of agro-tourism. Why not work with them to develop it further?


  1. interesting. I saw a lot of diversification on farms while visiting Portugal recently, some of it in the line of afro-tourism. I think farmers largely have always had multiple income streams to manage risk (not the agribusiness level of farming). Don't you?

    1. So you are basically saying that Swiss farmers get too much direct subsidies so that they do not need to manage risk?
      Literature often also looks at labour availability. Farms with female labour force are more easily having agro-tourism. Also agro-tourism farm tend to have less labor intensive agricultural production, for example have moved from dairy farming to fattening.