Compulsory stocks aim at the stockpiling of essential goods for bridging in case of crisis and shortages. As a precautionary measure, Switzerland therefore systematically stores food and animal feed in compulsory stocks. The Confederation determines which goods are to be kept in what quantities for how long.
The task of National Economic Supply is to provide Switzerland with essential goods and services in times of shortages. One of the objectives of the National Economic Supply is to provide the population of Switzerland with important basic foodstuffs despite a shortage. For example, bread grain must be kept in stock for four months. Switzerland depends on the import of such goods.
Compulsory stocks are the best known and most important instrument of stockpiling, which has been part of the national economic supply since the beginning. Companies that import, produce, process or put vital goods into circulation are obliged to maintain stocks.
The following food- and feedingstuffs are subject to the storage obligation:
- Rice for human consumption
- Edible oils and fats
- Cereals for human consumption
- Energy and protein sources for feed purposes
Go directly to the application for a general import permit.
In the electronic customs tariff – Tares you will find the tariff numbers, customs rates and references to other charges (VAT, incentive taxes, tobacco tax, beer tax, mineral oil tax, etc.) as well as information on prohibitions, restrictions or licensing requirements.
The current coverage of demand for the various product groups and their storage quantities.
|Goods||Coverage of demand||Stock quantity|
|Sugar||3 months||55’000 t|
|Rice for human consumption||4 months||16’400 t|
|Edible oils / fats||4 months||35’500 t|
|Coffee||3 months||17’000 t|
|Durum wheat||4 months||23’000 t|
|Common wheat||4 months||160’000 t|
|Energy / protein carrier||2 to 3 months||400’000 t|
|Total 2019||710’000 t|
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Compulsory stockholding organisations
The Confederation has defined other vital goods that are necessary to overcome severe shortages. Compulsory stockholding organisations such as réservesuisse are responsible for their storage.
For example, energy sources and all the necessary production and operating resources such as automotive fuel, diesel oil, heating oils and aviation fuel are stored by Carbura, the compulsory stockholding organisation of the Swiss petroleum industry. Helvecura, the compulsory stockholding organisation for therapeutic products such as antibiotics, is responsible for the storage of therapeutic products. In addition, nitrogenous fertilizers are stored by Agricura, the compulsory stockholding organisation for nitrogen fertilizers, and natural gas, which is used in Switzerland primarily for heating and cooking and in industry and commerce, is stored by Provisiogas, the compulsory stockholding organisation for natural gas.