As Central and Eastern Europe are flooded with cheap Ukrainian grain, farmers across Europe are raising alarm bells and facing increased financial stress. Poland has been especially hard hit.
According to Marek Sawicki, the former minister of agriculture for the center-right Polish People’s Party (PSL) the opening of the Polish market to Ukrainian grain was a big mistake. He added that it was right to help Ukraine, but mechanisms should have been put in place to ensure the grain actually left the EU and did not sit in EU countries, which has put severe pressure on farmers who cannot compete with the flood of Ukrainian imports.
EU Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski, nominated by the ruling conservatives in Poland, told the Polish Press Agency (PAP) on Monday about assistance being prepared for the three countries in the EU that have been hit the hardest by excessive imports of grain from Ukraine. These nations are Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. However, other countries, such as Hungary, have also been hit hard.
Responding to Commissioner Wojciechowski, Marek Sawicki told PAP on Tuesday that he was surprised an EU commissioner from Poland had failed to spot the problem and its impact on the Polish market much sooner so that it could have been prevented.
Sawicki estimates that 2.5 million tons of wheat and 1 million tons of rapeseed found their way into Poland from Ukraine. As a result, traders have lost between 8-10 million PLN (€1.7 to €2 million) and are facing insolvency.