It is commendable that the European Commission (EC) has finally taken action against the dumping of Ukrainian products under pressure from Eastern European countries, but this is only a superficial treatment of the problem, Balázs Győrffy, President of the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture, told Világgazdaság in an interview.
An EC regulation, adopted under pressure from eastern European EU member states, has recently come into force regulating the import of Ukrainian grain. In this context, Balázs Győrffy pointed out that it is worth looking at how the EU market works with strict regulations. He said that while products that have not been produced in compliance with any EU rules can be imported into the internal market without any sanctions, farmers who have to comply with a lot of rules and regulations here will be at a considerable disadvantage compared to producers on the external market, whether they are from Brazil or Ukraine.
He also said that Ukrainian crops coming from a war zone are sold at depressed prices, meaning that lower-cost produce is obviously dumped on the markets of neighboring countries because it does not have the transport costs of farther transit.
Generally speaking, the rules required of EU food producers should also be imposed on imported products, otherwise European producers will be at a permanent competitive disadvantage,” the president said.
Győrffy believes that the problem has not yet been solved, but at least something has started to happen. He also said that
the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture plans to demonstrate in Brussels in the future, as they want to put pressure on the Commission to extend the import ban at least until the end of the year.
“However, there is a need to address the acute situation. In other words, we need a decision that Ukrainian products should at most be allowed to transit through Hungary and not be placed on the market here,” he emphasized.
In the interview, thepresident of the Chamber of Agriculture also touched on the issue of drought and land tax, among other topics. After a severe drought last year, Hungarian fields have been hit by heavy rainfall in May this year, which gives cause for optimism. Győrffy said that the outlook for volume was good, with a month and a half before harvest, and that it could be a good year in terms of yields. But the problem is that prices are not in favor of farmers, especially with the price of cereal ends having fallen to unprecedented lows, resulting in severe losses.
On EU funds, he said that there would be huge resources available under the second rural development pillar of the common agricultural policy, allowing everyone who wants to develop small, medium, and large farms and companies alike. The food industry will be able to benefit from HUF 800 billion (EUR 2.1 billion) in support, the like of which has never been seen before, he added. Győrffy said that this is thanks to the successful lobbying of the Chamber of Agriculture for national co-financing to reach 80 percent. In the EU budget period 2021-2027, 4,300 billion forints (EUR 11.4 billion) will be available to farmers.
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