Business Association Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences
Christian Hofer, Director of the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG)

Publications - Guest articles

Christian Hofer, Director of the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG)

Acting now for a better tomorrow


A little over a year ago, we were shocked to find out that Ukraine, “Europe’s breadbasket”, was under attack. This plunged markets into a state of panic, reminding us just how dependent we are on each other. Since then, the terms “self-sufficiency rate” and “food security” have been prominent in public debate. But does it make sense to ensure food security by increasing the self-sufficiency rate? And how can we avoid harming the development of a sustainable food system?

According to the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, a food system can be considered sustainable when food security is guaranteed for all human beings, without compromising the economic, social and ecological foundations necessary for current and future generations. This system encompasses all the activities of the entire food chain and their impact on the environment, the economy and society. In concrete terms, this means we’re all actors in this system – we have an impact at every stage of the value chain.

Aiming for sustainable food security
In June 2022, the Federal Council adopted a report on the future orientation of agricultural policy. In this document, it sets the objective of achieving food security through sustainable development, from production to consumption.

To this end, the Federal Council proposes following four strategic threads.

  • The first revolves around ensuring a resilient food supply. The basic elements of production, such as soil and water, must be preserved.
  • Secondly, it wants to encourage environmentally conscious and animal-friendly food production. With a smaller ecological footprint, exceeding the absorption capacity of ecosystems can be avoided.
  • Strengthening value creation is the third proposed focus area. The agricultural and food sectors must become even more competitive. Taking inspiration from new food trends is one avenue to explore.
  • Finally, the fourth strategic thread aims to promote sustainable and healthy consumption. Building bridges between farming and consumers is important. Consumers need to be better informed about how products are made, their impact on the climate and animal welfare. In addition, all actors in the food chain need to participate in the effort to reduce waste.

Deep-rooted change required
The transformation of food systems will take time because it requires deep-rooted change. To support this, innovation, digitalisation, science and technology will play a central role. This is where scienceindustries can play its part: by fostering an innovation-friendly environment for its companies.

Ensuring food security while respecting the natural balance of ecosystems is a major challenge. In order to meet this challenge, the quantity and quality of agricultural soils will have to be maintained, technical progress made and resistant varieties and breeds developed. Other important issues include the preservation of expertise, better water management and the adaptation of consumption and production models. When developing framework conditions, the focus should not only be on the degree of self-sufficiency, but on all aspects of food security. Furthermore, it is essential that all efforts made have the same goal: a sustainable food system, both at national and international level. We’re acting now – and together – for a better tomorrow.



Photo Copyright: KEYSTONE/Christian Beutler


Newsletter subscription

scienceindustries News


Foreign trade statistics chemistry pharma life science

Further analyzes

Export Chemicals Pharma Life Sciences Switzerland by region

Further analyzes