Central-Eastern European farmers from Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania have joined their forces during a demonstration in Brussels protesting against excessive imports of cheap grain from Ukraine. In their view, unregulated imports undercut local producers and seriously damage the EU’s agricultural sector.
Producers were unhappy about the fact that silos are at 150% capacity as compared to normal levels at this time of the year, and some distributors have purchased the Ukrainian grain at a fraction of the price that it is produced locally. As tests show, Ukraine is able to produce its grain so economically with the use of chemicals and processes that have been banned in the EU for years, thus gaining an advantage over farmers of member-states.
Hungarian farmers alliance MAGOSZ have issued a statement on their webpage saying that “Our country was represented by MAGOSZ and NAK in the largest numbers allowed by the Belgian authorities. The EU regulation banning the import of grain from Ukraine expires on June 5. Therefore, the main demand of the farmer’s protest was to extend the ban”.
Representatives of the protesters were met by Polish EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski.
The Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture also supports the action of Hungarian farmers’ organizations, NAK and Magosz, who took to the streets in Brussels together with Eastern European farmers in support of the extension of the measures on the import ban on Ukrainian grain, the Ministry of Agriculture told MTI on Tuesday.
Farmers in the region have joined forces and are asking Brussels to recognize the seriousness of the problem and to make their voices heard, Brussels must act to protect Hungarian and other European farmers, Agriculture Minister István Nagy said.
The minister added that the farmers want the import ban to remain in place at least until the end of this year, as the situation will not be resolved by 5 June and grain warehouses in the countries concerned are still mostly occupied by last year’s consignments of Ukrainian grain.
István Nagy reminded that
the five countries concerned, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania, need appropriate EU measures to properly address the unprecedented regional cereals market difficulties caused by Ukrainian imports.
“We are currently waiting for a Commission proposal to maintain the current EU regime after 5 June,” he added.
The agriculture minister said that the Hungarian agriculture government and farmers’ organizations agree on the objective of ensuring that Ukrainian grain, produced without the strict EU production constraints and thus at much lower cost, reaches its traditional markets and does not disrupt the functioning of the Eastern European grain market, and that the normal trade channels are functioning properly again.
Featured Photo: Facebook Nemzeti Agrárgazdasági Kamara