The European Commission sees but does not want to recognize the serious problems it has caused to farmers in Central and Eastern Europe by allowing Ukrainian grain to be dumped on their markets, István Jakab, President of the National Association of Hungarian Farmers’ Circles and Farmers’ Cooperatives, told Világgazdaság in an interview. He added that it was therefore not surprising that European crop prices have practically halved.
István Jakab recalled that after the Hungarian farmers’ demonstration in Brussels in May, the EU Agriculture Commissioner told them that European farmers have to put up with market-distorting imports because they are a form of war support for Ukraine. However, as the President of the National Association of Hungarian Farmers’ Circles and Farmers’ Cooperatives pointed out, the Brussels communication does not mention the fact that a large part of Ukrainian land is used by American and Western European companies, and that it is all about finding a market for their produce.
So ‘well’ has the solidarity corridor for starving countries worked, that every second lot has stayed in the EU, increasing imports from Ukraine several thousand times compared to before the war.
The fact that this was compounded by tax evasion will again, Jakab said, escape the attention of the decision-makers in Brussels. No wonder that under these circumstances, European crop prices have practically halved and are now well below cost, he added.
Photo: Facebook/Péter Szijjártó
“In Brussels, they say that the market will sort everything out anyway, that they do not think any measures are needed, and we say that import restrictions must be maintained, because we must not let European producers have tens of millions of tons of cereals without any information about their origin or, for example, about the pesticides used,” Jakab emphasized. He argued that this really is a matter of vital importance to Hungarian farmers, and they are in complete agreement with the other farmers’ organizations in Eastern Europe.
The President of the National Association of Hungarian Farmers’ Circles and Farmers’ Cooperatives highlighted that
a much bigger problem is that the market has practically frozen over the last period, as some people bought huge stocks of Ukrainian produce last year, which are still pushing prices down, but Ukrainian imports have also completely destroyed our exports to Italy, Spain, and Romania.
Looking at this year, we can talk about an average harvest so far in Hungary, which would give cause for optimism after last year’s difficult drought, but from an economic point of view, 2023 is extremely uncertain, Jakab pointed out. He said that the outlook for autumn-sown arable crops is good for the time being, but with buying-in prices and the steep fall in new crop binding prices, most farmers are trying to cut back on inputs.
It is therefore already apparent that these previously successful crops will, on average, produce losses of up to several hundred thousand forints per hectare.
Regarding domestic matters, the president also pointed out in the interview that last week parliament passed a law banning the taxation of farmland by municipalities. According to Jakab, this was necessary due to the current situation on the crop market and last year’s severe drought.
Featured photo via Pixabay