A shortage of frozen butter in Switzerland has the industry wanting to import 1,000 tons. Dairy farmers disagree.
On Thursday an umbrella groupexternal link for the dairy sector announced that it had applied to the federal authorities for permission to import 1,000 tons of butter.
There are currently 1,500 tons of frozen butter reserves in Switzerland, but the nation would need 4,000-5,000 tons to get through the demand for the rest of the year, says the group.
Butter production has been slow for months now, it said, and sales have increased in recent weeks. Due to the inadequate domestic supply of milk fat, butter is likely to become slightly more expensive. With the import of foreign butter, there would be a surcharge of up to CHF0.01 ($0.01) per kilogram of milk.
The Swiss Farmers Unionexternal link has reacted to the import request by calling butter imports an "absolute no-go". On its website, the association argues that Swiss milk producers “still have to accept deductions for the export of milk fat”. It also says that the butter stocks have grown in recent weeks.
Around 43,000 tons of butter are sold in Switzerland every year. Depending on the brand and packaging, Swiss butter retails at anywhere from CHF12-20 per kilo.
Normally, Switzerland is able to produce all of the milk-based products it needs. However, Switzerland loses hundreds of dairy farms each year.