In Switzerland MIXED is implemented jointly by Hochstamm Suisse and FiBL. The project focuses on fruit trees and livestock with the involvement of one group of farmers practicing MiFAS (Mixed Farming and Agroforestry Systems).
Swiss farms are small structures and can be characterized as ‘family farming’. A typical Swiss tree production system includes around 100 fruit trees per hectare. More extensive fruit tree production also exists, with for example 20 trees per hectare but here the focus is rather on the ’intensive’ and ‘typical’ system. The Swiss MiFAS is primarily engaged in North Western and Central Switzerland.
The Swiss MiFAS is focused on apples, pears, cherries, mirabelle, quinces, and plums, in association with livestock production. In Switzerland, there are more than 2’000 fruit-growers, and 60% of the apple and pear orchards are cultivated by fruit-growers with more than 5 ha. This includes around 1’300 tree producers who are members of the Hochstamm Suisse association, including 10% of organic farmers.
The network is characterised by a high level of innovativeness, with for example the development of special harvesting materials requiring fewer manual labour. Value chains are characterised by a high power of intermediaries and retailers, but some farmers adapted by concentrating on the direct market. Farmers are also highly dependent on subsidies and the future Swiss agricultural policy may further support sustainable farming systems through a subsidy system.
The main role of Hochstamm Suisse is to promote their label by making a clear distinction across the range of systems from intensive to more extensive production. The Hochstamm Suisse label requires farmers to meet certain production requirements with a view to support sustainable farming systems.
An increased focus on the contribution of mixed systems to biodiversity may help to support sustainable farming systems. Hochstamm Suisse and other farming associations follow this strategy, but an enhanced collaboration with animal experts is also needed to optimise the Swiss mifas.
More information on Hochstamm Suisse and Swiss mifas: https://www.hochstammsuisse.ch/