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Israel makes a move to bring more butter into the country amid shortage

February 26, 2020 - from JTA:

"Moshe Kahlon signed an order on Wednesday to lift duties and quotas on imported butter in an effort to alleviate a prolonged shortage in Israel, the business daily Globes reported. The order is limited to one year to prevent long-term damage to Israel’s dairy industry."

"It is not known if the imported butter will be subject to the fixed-price regulations on Israeli-produced butter." "Questions about whether an interim government had the authority to sign such an order postponed its enactment. Israeli lawmakers have been unable to form a coalition government for a year."

"The go-ahead to sign the order was issued earlier this month by Deputy Attorney General Meir Levin, The Times of Israel reported."

Israel is experiencing a butter shortage that won’t end anytime soon

January 8, 2020 - from JTA:

"The land of milk and honey has been short of one of the most commonly used dairy products: butter."

"Since early 2019, butter has become such a scarce commodity that Israelis have taken to sharing rare sightings of it on social media."

"While butter, both domestic and imported, has been trickling back onto shelves in recent weeks, leading some consumers to loudly declare that the problem has been solved, a spokesperson for the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture told JTA that 'a shortage of local butter is also expected in 2020.'"

"The problem, explained Ayal Kimhi, professor of agricultural economics at Hebrew University and the vice president of the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research, is that while Israel is for the most part a capitalist society, 'the dairy market is officially regulated in terms of quantity and prices.'"

"Like in the Soviet Union of old, Israel’s contemporary dairy sector is a 'planned' one in which prices are set based on demand forecasts and which works to protect local manufacturers from competition from foreign imports."

"In recent years, domestic demand for butter has increased, and in order to produce more, Israel’s dairies have required more milk fat, which is unavailable in the necessary quantities because local milk cows have been bred for years 'to produce as much milk as possible but not necessarily as much fat as possible.'"

"One possible solution would be to import foreign butter (which has itself increased in cost significantly), which would require a government quota exemption. Early efforts to alleviate the shortage by allowing more imports fizzled, Israeli business daily Globes reported in April, due to a decision to apply local price controls to the foreign products."

"The price for butter is set by a joint committee comprised of representatives of the ministries of finance and agriculture, which recommended more than a year ago to raise prices in order to make importation and local manufacture more fiscally attractive for the big firms that control the market. "

"But despite some modest improvements, the Ministry of Agriculture has said that it believes the shortage will last into the new year. "

Israel: Kahlon Increases Imports to Cover Butter Shortage

November 26, 2019 - from Jewish Press:

"Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon announced Tuesday that Israel will increase imports of butter, for both household and industrial purposes, in order to compensate for the ongoing shortage of the Israeli baking and household dairy necessity."

"Kahlon signed a directive that raised the household butter imports to 2,750 tons and industrial imports of butter for factories to 3,500 tons. The move increases imports by 13 and 24 percent, respectively, which Kahlon said would “increase the butter supply in the market and end the shortages in stores. "

"Butter in Israel is produced by the country’s largest manufacturer, Tnuva, and by the second-largest manufacturer, Tara. There has been a shortage of the milk-fat product for months. "

Shortage? In Toronto, Tnuva Butter Is Cheap and Plentiful

November 18, 2019 - from Haretz:

"Israelis are up in arms after a Facebook user published a photo of Tnuva-brand butter being sold in Canada for less than its price in Israel, while Israelis have been facing butter shortages for the past year."

"Tnuva is Israel’s largest dairy manufacturer. It has argued that the shortage of butter is due to a shortage of milk fat. Others speculate that Tnuva, along with Israel’s other dairies, are limiting their butter production in order to pressure the government to raise dairy prices, or to use the raw ingredient — butterfat — to make items with higher profit margins. Butter is one of several dairy items subject to government price controls. "

"Tnuva butter is likely being exported and sold in locations beyond Toronto, where it was photographed over the weekend being sold for 0.97 Canadian dollars per 100-gram bar (U.S. $0.73). Another Facebook user photographed Tnuva butter on supermarket shelves in Miami, being sold for $3.09 per 100-gram bar. Others said it was available in Montreal as well. "

"Tnuva butter is thought to sell for $2.39-$3.99 per 100-gram bar in the United States."

"In Israel, Tnuva butter is sold for 3.94 shekels per 100 grams ($1.13), a price set by the government."

"For nearly a year, Israelis have been facing butter shortages, with supermarket shelves frequently devoid of butter. The dairy industry has said the shortage is only going to worsen over the next year."

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