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President Duda says Poland determined to resolve grain dispute with Ukraine but must protect its farmers

24.09.2023 20:00
The problems that arose in the Polish grain market due to imports from Ukraine will be addressed by state authorities, President Andrzej Duda said on Sunday.
Polands President Andrzej Duda speaks during the Presidential Harvest Festival 2023 in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, September 24.
Poland's President Andrzej Duda speaks during the Presidential Harvest Festival 2023 in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, September 24.Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka"

According to Duda, the grain dispute between Poland and Ukraine is a temporary issue, and it would be unfair to blame ordinary Ukrainians for it, given their ongoing struggle with a war.

Speaking at the Presidential Harvest Festival in Warsaw on Sunday, Andrzej Duda explained that grain from Ukraine, produced by large oligarchic holdings, used to be delivered to many regions of the world, but Russia’s invasion disrupted the export routes.

Some of the Ukrainian grain flooded the Polish market, leading to serious disruptions, and Polish grain producers suffered "due to pathological processes that should never have taken place."

President Duda went on saying: "Huge holdings, which operate on areas ranging from several to tens of thousands of hectares, have an interest in selling this grain anywhere, while the interest of the entire world is to deliver this grain where it is needed."

Andrzej Duda admitted that as a result of the Polish embargo on imports of Ukrainian grain, tensions and disputes arose, however, Polish authorities are determined to resolve the conflict.

"I assure you that there is good will on the part of Polish authorities in this matter, but there is also an absolute conviction that our fundamental duty is to protect Polish farmers and their legitimate interests," the president said.

Poland bans import of grain from Ukraine

Over a week ago, the Polish government decided to extend an embargo on the import of several agricultural products from Ukraine, including wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower.

Slovakia and Hungary have introduced similar bans.

These developments came after the EU’s executive Commission announced that it would not prolong the bloc's ban on the import of wheat, corn, rapeseed, sunflower and sunflower oil from Ukraine to Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.

Meanwhile, the transit of these products through Poland to other countries, or to Poland’s seaports, remains allowed, according to officials. 

On Monday, Ukraine’s Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko announced that Kyiv had filed a lawsuit against Poland, Hungary and Slovakia at the World Trade Organisation over the ban on food imports from the country.

Slovakia and Ukraine have since agreed to lift the embargo by implementing a new grain trade system based on licensing, with the ban to remain in force until the scheme is fully launched.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

Sunday is day 578 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP