The Ukraine Report: European countries continue protesting Ukrainian grain imports
As of late, European countries have been protesting Ukrainian grain imports. Many say the abundance of imports are hurting domestic prices and creating an unfair marketplace.
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Restrictions on the import of Ukrainian farm products to the EU appear particularly hotly debated in the European agricultural media. Protests against Ukrainian goods are happening in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. Let’s consider Poland as an example to understand the situation.
It is there that farmers are protesting the most, which resulted in the resignation of Agriculture Minister Henryk Kowalczyk.
They protest against the transit of Ukrainian grain through Poland to third countries. Farmers argue that a significant part of Ukrainian cereals is not transported in transit further, but ends up in Poland, thereby reducing the purchase price of Polish farmers’ grain.
Over the past month, domestic prices for wheat and soybeans in Poland have fallen by $50 per 40 bushels, and for rapeseed by $120 per 40 bushels.
Serhiy Orlovskyi, the founder of Agrooiltrade, insists that it is wrong to blame Ukrainian grain for the collapse of prices in Poland.
“This is a global trend. If you compare the data from global exchanges, you will see that prices have fallen everywhere. Not only in Poland. Therefore, it is totally unfair to hold Ukrainian farmers responsible for this.”
Andriy Abdulov, a specialist in Agrolok’s international trade department, also refers to this problem. He adds that restricting the import of Ukrainian grain to Poland will not impact domestic prices.
“Ukrainian grain is an external enemy of a Polish grower. “
“Demonstrating global trends and charts will not change the farmer’s mindset. He will only say it doesn’t matter what happens in the US, for example. And if he sees that the processor buys cheaper from Ukraine, then who is to blame? The processor and Ukrainians.”
Andriy Abdulov lives and works in Poland, so he has an inside look at the situation. He says that the elections to the Polish Parliament are coming up this year, so the situation is getting a lot of publicity, and local farmers withheld from selling grain when prices were high as they waited for an even higher rate. And now they are shifting the responsibility to the Ukrainian farmer.
“If I were a producer, I would of course want to sell it at a higher price, and when I saw it being bought abroad lower, I would also be outraged, but you have to look at the bigger picture.”
In times of war, Ukraine has built a strong infrastructure for cooperation with Europe. For example, the MOST logistic terminal, has both Ukrainian and European standard tracks.
“We have completed a construction project of a grain terminal, which today allows us to handle and transship about 800,000 bushels of grain per month on narrow European gauge.”
In the future, the border with the EU will be further merged, so for us, it is essential to make our work with Poland and other countries as safe and efficient as possible.
“Western exports have never been a priority before. Today, many export opportunities have arisen for Ukraine. Many European partners have found that we can do business and provide quality services. We hope that this will continue in the future.”
Today, however, the situation is such that Poland is imposing restrictions on the import of Ukrainian grain. According to Olga Trofimtseva, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, concerns about Ukrainian grain are persisting in Romania, Bulgaria and other neighbouring countries.
“Poles will demand the enforcement of protective close to defend the domestic market.”
“Our industry-specific ministries are in constant contact with Polish ministries. We don’t really need these kinds of signals, so issues are resolved at the state level.”
Our Polish colleagues are open to discussion. At the same time, we know that Polish politicians, ministers and members of the Parliament are under pressure.
“European agricultural policy is transforming. There are already discussions in Germany about what it should look like around 2030 when Ukraine becomes a member of the EU.”
Changes are inevitable, and our task is to find a solution to the algorithm of the agricultural market transformation.
That report was powered by Latifundist Media, with USAID support provided through Agriculture Growing Rural Opportunities (AGRO) Activity implemented in Ukraine by Chemonics International. For more information, visit their website or follow them on social media.