Switzerland has few natural resources, which leads to a reliance on imports. Foresight and planning have been among its major concerns for several centuries. Switzerland has developed a compulsory stockpiling system in order to ensure a certain degree of independence. Compulsory stocks are maintained for selected foodstuffs, therapeutic products and energy sources.
Like all aspects of national economic supply (NES), compulsory stockpiling is based on cooperation between the state and the private sector. The federal government determines which essential goods are subject to compulsory stockpiling as well as the quantities to be stockpiled, while the companies themselves own the reserves.
To make administrative tasks easier, they have joined together to form mutual assistance groups under private law, with articles of association approved by the federal government. The federal government can order the release of stocks in cases where a shortage prevents the economy from meeting the demand for essential goods. This mechanism is one of the main instruments of NES.
The organisations responsible for compulsory stocks have set up guarantee funds to finance compulsory stockpiling. These funds are intended to compensate owners of compulsory stocks for their storage costs, and to offset fluctuations in the price of stored goods. Owners of compulsory reserves pass on storage costs to consumers in the form of higher selling prices.
If a sector has a guarantee fund, the federal government requires all compulsory stockholders to join the relevant organisation and pay into the guarantee fund.
The Federal Office for National Economic Supply (FONES) monitors the owners of compulsory stocks and the compulsory stock organisations, ensuring that the monies in the guarantee funds are used appropriately and that the fund contributions demanded are reasonable.
CARBURA: the Swiss organisation for the compulsory stockpiling of oil products.
This is the oldest stockpiling facility in Switzerland. The Swiss Central Office for the Import of Liquid Fuels was founded in Bern on 21 June 1932. CARBURA is headquartered in Zurich. Its membership includes all importers of petroleum products importing more than 3,000 cubic metres annually. Switzerland imports all of the oil it consumes, and its dependence has increased with growing industrialisation. CARBURA
RESERVESUISSE provides services related to the import, storage and processing of food and feedstuffs.
The Swiss Cereals and Animal Feed Cooperative (GGF) began in 1933. The origins of réservesuisse go back to 1948, when the Swiss Sugar Importers’ Trust Agency was set up as a mutual assistance organisation for the industry. In 1948, the Agency became the Trust Agency of Swiss Food Importers (TSL) with compulsory stockpiles of sugar, rice, fats and coffee. The next step was taken in 1996 with the Trust Office of the Swiss Compulsory Grain Stockholders (TSG). Finally, réservesuisse was founded in 2003 following the merger of TSL and TSG. reservesuisse.ch
AGRICURA is the organisation responsible for compulsory stocks of nitrogen fertilisers.
The organisation that preceded the Agricura Cooperative (Agricura) was founded in 1950.
Switzerland is 100% dependent on foreign countries to meet its mineral fertiliser requirements. The quantities to be stored are decided based on analysis of the risks of environmental disruption.
The current compulsory stock of 17,000 tonnes of pure nitrogen fertiliser is covered by 15 different compulsory stockholders in Switzerland. Agricura
HELVECURA is the organisation responsible for the compulsory stockpiling of essential medicines such as antibiotics.
Founded in 1951, the mutual assistance organisation for compulsory stockholders of medicines ensures that essential drugs, such as antibiotics to combat infectious diseases, are available at all times. Switzerland is entirely dependent on imports of antibiotics, as the country only processes antibiotics but does not produce them.
In addition to the compulsory stockpiling of antibiotics, there has been an obligation since 2004 to stockpile antiviral drugs, which can be used to combat a flu pandemic. In 2013 and 2014, anti-infectives in human and veterinary medicine were added, as well as opiates and strong analgesics in human medicine. In addition, compulsory stockpiling was introduced in 2016 for certain vaccines used in human medicine. Helvecura
PROVISIOGAS is responsible for compulsory stocks of natural gas, which is mainly used for heating and cooking, as well as in industry and trade.
Provisiogas, the most recent of the compulsory stock organisations, was founded in Bern in 2014. Its tasks are delegated by the federal government in connection with the compulsory stockpiling and regulated management of natural gas. Provisiogas
Last modification 19.07.2023