Switzerland might evoke images of rolling Alpine pastures but the government warned Wednesday of potential butter shortages during the coronavirus crisis, while meat stocks could pile up.
Demand for some products has soared, and “for the first time in years”, butter production might not be able to meet demand, the government said.
It asked the Federal Office for Agriculture to review import tariff restrictions for butter and has already decided to review the quota for eggs, which are flying off supermarket shelves despite record production last year.
“There is no danger in terms of food supply at the moment,” Economic Affairs Minister Guy Parmelin told a press conference in Bern.
Federal officials have come up with a series of measures to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on the Swiss agriculture sector however.
Measures to combat the COVID-19 outbreak have altered consumer behaviour, affecting farmers who cannot quickly change what they produce.
As restaurants closed, demand for some products collapsed, the government said in a press release, citing veal and certain cuts of beef in particular.
To ease the repercussions on meat producers, Bern granted a credit of three million Swiss francs (2.8 million euros,$3.1 million) to help pay for storage.
As elsewhere in Europe, Swiss supermarket shelves have been stripped of pasta, tinned goods and long-life products, while bars, restaurants and stores other than food shops and pharmacies have shut down.
Switzerland has registered more than 375 deaths and 17,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.