Poland struggles with flood of Ukrainian grain in 2023

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

In the first months of 2023, Poland received 600 times more Ukrainian wheat than in 2022, according to Polish Finance Ministry data obtained by the Rzeczpospolita daily from the Polish Agriculture Ministry.

Between 2021 and 2022, grain imports to Poland tripled from 1.1 million tons to 3.2 million tons. The largest increase was in wheat and corn, with over 2 million tons of corn imported last year, according to Polish Ministry of Finance and the National Revenue Administration data.

Between January and April 2023, when protests by Polish farmers were already underway, nearly 338,000 tons of wheat were imported from Ukraine. This marked a staggering 610 percent increase compared to the same period of the previous year.

“The scale of grain imports from Ukraine in the past year and a half is shocking,” said Arkadiusz Artyszak, professor at Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW). It is uncertain whether these figures include non-edible grains.

The surge in imports can be attributed to the decision made by Brussels in May 2022 to open the borders for Ukrainian agricultural products without imposing customs duties.

A blockade on grain imports from Ukraine to five EU countries, including Poland, was put in place, but this was extended only until mid-September. Farmers fear that the European Commission will subsequently open the borders, as has been reported.

Polish Minister of Agriculture Robert Telus announced in late June that since March, Poland exported 4.5 million tons of grain. Various estimates suggest that Poland still holds between 3 million and 4.3 million tons of grain. Feed mills for animal husbandry consume between 2.5 million and 3 million tons monthly. Information from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development indicates that approximately 70 percent of the surplus grain was purchased from farmers and exported.

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