The Polish government has suspended Ukrainian grain imports into the country in response to claims by local farmers that cheap imports are undercutting the domestic market, World Grain quoted from a report in the Kyiv Independent on 10 April.
The Poland-Ukraine grain agreement was the first step in solving an agricultural crisis in the country due to a large influx of cheap Ukrainian grain in Poland, Polish deputy minister of agriculture Janusz Kowalski was cited as saying in a TVP Info interview.
As part of the agreement, Ukrainian grain would only transit through Poland to third countries at least until July, the report said.
The move followed protests by Polish farmers over the influx of Ukrainian grain, World Grain wrote.
The dispute was reportedly settled during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Poland on 5 April when he met with Polish government leaders.
Cheap Ukrainian grain had been flooding the European Union (EU) market following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, helped by the EU waiving customs duties and import quotas in a bid to keep Ukraine’s agricultural sector running, the report said.
However, low-price grain prices had undercut local producers, the farmers claimed.
Although the Polish government had called on the European Commission (EC) to reintroduce duties on Ukrainian grain, the duty-free regime with Ukraine had been extended for another year, the report said.
Prior to Poland’s introduction of the grain suspension of Ukrainian grain imports, Poland’s Agriculture Minister Henryk Kowalczyk had resigned following his criticism of EC policy on duty-free grain imports from Ukraine, AgriCensus reported on 5 April.
“Since it is very clear that the basic demand of farmers will not be met by the European Commission, I have submitted my resignation from the post of Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,” Kowalczyk was quoted as saying in a public statement.
However, the main reason for Kowalczyk’s resignation was his own policy errors on the issue rather than the EC’s proposal to extend the duty-free regime, according to one source quoted in the AgriCensus report.
Poland is set to hold elections later this year.