Switzerland is heavily dependent upon imports, so maintaining reserves of certain goods is a very important precautionary measure in ensuring security of supply. If an unforeseen crisis means that the market is no longer able to satisfy demand for vital basic goods, having reserves to release as needed is a valuable instrument for NES.



Switzerland again establishes a compulsory seed stockpile

Switzerland will once again have a compulsory seed stockpile. On 26 January 2022, the Federal Council approved the Ordinance on the Compulsory Stockpiling of Seed. It entered into force on 1 April 2022. This means that a stockpile of rapeseed will ensure the domestic production of rapeseed oil in future. Switzerland is completely dependent on imports of rapeseed.

The reserve to be built up is to cover the annual requirement for the domestic production of rapeseed oil. Switzerland already had compulsory seed stocks in the past. However, these were abolished in the 1990s as part of the policy to reduce compulsory stocks.

If, in the course of future reviews, the National Economic Supply Office concludes that seed of other plant species should be subject to compulsory stockpiling, this could then be done by supplementing the decree.

Media release: Switzerland again establishes a compulsory seed stockpile (in french)

Ordinance on the compulsory stockpiling of seed (in french)


The federal government and the private sector work together to maintain the system of compulsory stocks. The Confederation determines which goods and how much of them need to be stocked. However, the stocks are the property of private businesses rather than of the government, and are managed by them. On 1 February 2021 around 300 private companies held compulsory stocks.

The costs of maintaining compulsory stocks are included by companies in the sales prices and are thus borne by the consumer. In the food and feed sector, the costs of cereals, edible oils and fats as well as sugar are borne indirectly by the federal government.

Each person in Switzerland pays about CHF 12 a year on average towards NES in this way (status: 1 February 2021).

Additional information

Last modification 19.01.2023

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