5-speed listening (Swiss Cheese - Level 3)

Switzerland imports more cheese than it exports



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Only a handful of countries are famous for producing cheese. Switzerland is one of them. However, for the first time, Switzerland is importing more cheese than it exports. The reason is that in the 1990s, Switzerland opened up its milk market. This meant other countries could sell milk in Switzerland. The result is that Swiss farmers have had difficulty competing with the cheaper, imported milk. Many Swiss dairy farmers have given up because they can no longer make a profit. This has led to a decrease in the quantity of cheese made in Switzerland. A spokesperson for the Swiss Dairy Association said the country can now only produce enough cheese for its own population.

Swiss cheese like Gruyere and Emmental are well known for their high quality. Restaurants worldwide add these cheeses to their menus. However, eateries and supermarkets around the world may have to replace Swiss cheeses with those from England, France or Venezuela. Even though Switzerland is not exporting as much cheese, the Swiss are still big cheese eaters. They are actually eating more cheese than ever. The Swiss Info website said Swiss people ate an average of 22.9 kg per person last year. Dairy farmer Lina Fischer was sad to see so many farms disappearing. She said: "From fondues to fried cheese balls, cheese is a big part of life in Switzerland. We need our farms, and cheese."

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