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Is “local” enough? New localised food networks in the Swiss dairy industry

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Proceedings (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2014
Author Forney Jérémie, Haeberli Isabel,
Project Filières alternatives dans la production laitière: reconfiguration des réseaux et autonomisation des producteurs
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Proceedings (peer-reviewed)

Title of proceedings 11th European IFSA Symposium: Farming systems facing global challenges: Capacities and strategies
Place Berlin

Open Access

Abstract

In May 2009, The Swiss government abolished the national milk quota system. Since then and despite the creation of an interprofessional board to coordinate the Swiss milk market, sinking milk price, overproduction and discordance among actors resulted in a weakening of producers’ position in the conventional and industrialised dairy sector. Without serious hope of quick improvement, farmers’ organisations developed new projects to strengthen the position of farmers. Their first goal is generally to improve the farmers’ incomes by gaining added value, notably by targeting consumers who are ready to pay higher prices for local products. While referring to alternative values (such as localism and ecological production), some of these projects conserve structures and characteristics typical of conventional systems. In this paper, we will present preliminary results from an on-going research based on three case studies. We will first describe how these food networks evolved in order to develop the new products. Then, we will analyse how they use the ‘local’ labelling: it appears that the ‘local’ might endorse contrasting meanings in the three networks. Finally, we will explore how such initiatives might result – willingly or not – in more sustainable food systems.
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