Fri. Sep 22nd, 2023

Five European countries, including Poland, have renewed their ban on Ukrainian grain imports. Polish farmers consider this unfair competition.

The European Union has renewed its ban on Ukrainian grain imports in five of the 27 countries, including Poland. This decision is linked to the dissatisfaction of Polish farmers in particular, who, faced with Ukrainian competition, have found themselves with unsold grain.

“We responded to their main demand, namely that pressure on cereal imports from Ukraine be halted. Today, this authorization doesn’t exist, it’s not legal until September 15 at least, these cereals won’t be sent to Poland, only transit is possible”, explains Krzysztof CieciĆ³ra, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development:

But the European Union’s decision, backed by the government, brings temporary relief. For Polish farmers, it is not satisfactory, as the same problem could arise again in a few months’ time.

“Today, they say it will be completely banned, but only until September 15. It gives us practically nothing. Agriculture is a profession that needs to project itself,” says farmer Wieslaw Gryn. “Farmers lost these advantages overnight, because they were selling at a much lower price. Today, we hardly know what to sow, what to grow to make it marketable. This has undermined stability, even the contacts between mills and feed mixing plants have broken down, whereas there were already permanent supply cycles, this controlled “farm to table” chain has cracked. We shouldn’t be competing with Ukraine”.

In the face of Ukrainian imports, agricultural policy experts stress that Polish production complies with European standards and also contributes to food safety in Europe.

“The problem of Ukrainian agriculture competing with Polish agriculture is a very serious one,” analyzes Sonia Sobczyk-Grygiel of the think tank Polityka Insight. “What is it based on? Because Ukraine has very good agricultural production conditions, its labor is cheaper. The lesson here is that the Poles need to prepare themselves and develop a multi-stakeholder strategy, but it’s also an appeal to the European Union to assess, when making decisions, the consequences of such regulations.”

“Blocking Ukrainian grain imports is a temporary solution that does not satisfy any of the parties. Given the value of this cooperation, as well as Ukraine’s approach to the EU, systematic, long-term solutions are needed,” concludes Magdalena Chodownik for Euronews from Rogow.

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