Although devoid of mineral resources and certainly not favored by environmental conditions, Switzerland is one of the richest and most economically advanced countries in the world. The country’s high GDP (492,595 million US dollars in 2008) allows for a per capita income of $ 67,385 (2008), which ranks among the highest in the world. The extraordinary Swiss prosperity is moreover of recent origin: still at the end of the century. XVIII Switzerland was a poor country, mostly inhabited by mountaineers dedicated to modest rural activities. However, it had certain potentials, which were only waiting to be adequately exploited: the geographical position in the heart of Europe, a very significant hydroelectric potential, natural beauties, a hard-working population, a policy of neutrality, officially recognized since the Congress of Vienna.
The prevalence of mountainous and not very fertile soils and an often harsh climate reduces the number of cultivable plants and imposes very low altimetric limits. However, agricultural incomes are quite high thanks to the wide and rational use of machines, fertilizers, selected seeds, as well as the excellent technical preparation of the farmers.
Furthermore, cooperatives and producer associations are widespread. In addition, mountain and marginal areas, where it was deemed appropriate to maintain rural settlements for reasons of soil conservation and environmental protection, enjoy extensive subsidies. Despite modern agricultural techniques and substantial government interventions, self-sufficiency is not achieved, so Switzerland imports a lot of food from abroad. L’ the worsening of world competition strongly calls into question the Confederation’s “autarchic” agricultural policy, based on the production of a wide range of commodities, despite their modest organoleptic characteristics and their total anti-economy. The main agricultural product is wheat.. Cereal growing, which affects approx. half of the arable land has its most important areas in the N, in the Mittelland and in the valleys of the eastern Jura, where it is practiced in rotation with forage crops. The contribution of barley, widespread in mountain regions and widely used in the beer industry, is also significant; oats, which adapt to more humid soils, are regressing to the advantage of corn, which however needs the most favorable climatic conditions typical of the Canton of Ticino, of the lower Valais and some parts of the Rhine valley. Rye is grown in the mountainous areas. Overall, however, Swiss grain production is low; on the other hand, the potato harvest is good, coming from the western Mittelland and the mountainous regions. Among the woody crops, the main one is fruit growing, developed in the central and eastern regions of the Mittelland (pears and apples), in the Prealps and in the tabular Jura (cherries, apricots, plums). The vine, intensively cultivated in some areas of the Canton of Ticino and Valais, as well as on the sunny hilly banks of the major lakes, gives modest quantities, but the wines are of high quality. The horticultural products present in the Ticino area and along the shores of lakes in general are of modest importance. Industrial crops include sugar beet, followed by rapeseed and tobacco. Forests and woods, which cover almost 1/3 of the territory, give a production, largely made up of resinous. The policies of safeguarding the national forest heritage, combined with the need to preserve an economic and artisanal activity, have led the wood industry, located in the Alpine region and in the Jura, to exploit only partially local timber, relying mainly on imported raw materials.
According to Programingplease, the Swiss agricultural economy relies heavily on livestock farming, which can count on the widespread use of fodder crops and the great abundance of permanent meadows and pastures. Cattle breeding is the most important, developed through well-selected breeds for meat and milk: alpine brown breed, wide spread of forage crops and the great abundance of permanent meadows and pastures. Cattle breeding is the most important, developed through well-selected breeds for meat and milk: alpine brown breed, wide spread of forage crops and the great abundance of permanent meadows and pastures. Cattle breeding is the most important, developed through well-selected breeds for meat and milk: alpine brown breed, Simmenthal, Freiburg. Cattle breeding, which often uses highly perfected techniques, is also aimed at the production of milk, butter and the dairy industry, which is well organized and produces large quantities of cheeses (some of which are prestigious, such as emmental), condensed milk and milk flours (Nestlé); milk is also used in the confectionery industry and in the manufacture of chocolate. There is also a good spread of pigs, raised above all in the Mittelland, sheep and poultry. Finally, beekeeping has a good income. The lakes with the most fish are those of Geneva, Neuchâtel and the Quattro Cantoni (pike, whitefish); salmon are sometimes caught in the Rhine.