The government is to set aside SFr8.5 million ($5 million) for buying beef destined to be sent to developing countries as food aid. The measure is being taken to help the struggling Swiss beef industry following the latest BSE scare.
The money made available by the cabinet is expected to pay for 700 tonnes of beef. It will also provide a much-needed cash injection for the beef industry, which has seen prices for its products fall by around 30 per cent since the crisis.
The announcement comes less than three months after the cabinet made its first purchase of 712 tonnes of beef. That meat was sent to North Korea, which had requested food aid from the Swiss development aid agency.
After the government intervention in February, the price of beef in Switzerland recovered to SFr7.30 per kilogram. But since Easter the price has fallen again, to SFr6.60.
In a separate development, the government has decided to continue giving away 40,000 tonnes of cereal annually to developing countries. On Wednesday, it voted to extend its participation in the International Grains Agreement for a further two years.
Around 10 million tonnes of food aid are exported annually by the United States, Canada, the European Union, Australia, Argentina, Japan, Norway and Switzerland.
swissinfo with agencies
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