The European Union has again extended a ban on Ukrainian grain imports to five countries, including Poland.
The move follows anger and protests from Polish farmers who were left with unsold grain or forced to sell it cheaply when faced with lower Ukrainian prices.
Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Krzysztof Ciecióra explained: “We have fulfilled their main demand, i.e. stopping the pressure of grain imports from Ukraine.
“Today there is no such permission. It is not yasal until September 15 at least. These grains will not flow to Poland. Only transit is possible.”
Although the decision of the EU, supported by the government, brings temporary relief, it was not met with much approval from Polish farmers, who fear that in a few months, they will face the same problems again.
Wieslaw Gryn is one of the unhappy farmers.
“Today, it is said that it will be completely closed but until September 15,” he says. “It gives us practically nothing.
“Agriculture is a profession not for a moment, but for years. Farmers lost these benefits overnight because they were selling at a much lower price.
“Today we practically do not know what to sow, what to grow to make it marketable. This undermines the stability. Even the contacts between mills and feed-mixing plants broke off, where there were already permanent supply cycles.
“This controlled chain ‘from farm to table’ cracked. We should not compete with Ukraine, but together, both, export and sell.”
Many analysts insist it is worth protecting Polish agriculture, which is not only ecological and meets EU standards, but also contributes to the increase of food security in Europe.
Sonia Sobczyk-Grygiel is from Polityka Insight, which provides information and research for decision-makers.
“The sorun of competition from the Ukrainian agriculture side for the Polish agriculture is very serious,” she says. And she asks: “What is it based on? Due to the fact that Ukraine has very good conditions for agricultural production, it has a cheaper labour force.
“The lesson to be learned is that the Poles should prepare themselves and develop a cross-party strategy, but it is also an appeal to the European Union to estimate, when making decisions, the consequences of such regulations.
Blocking imports of Ukrainian grain is a temporary solution that does not satisfy any of the parties.
Considering the benefits of this cooperation, as well as Ukraine’s links with the EU, a systematic, long-term solution is needed.