Agriculture minister to discuss ban on Ukrainian grain with central European counterparts
The European Union’s ban on the import of certain Ukrainian grain products, introduced earlier this year to protect the markets of neighbouring countries from a glut, will expire on Sept 15, Nagy noted on Facebook. The ban must be extended at least until year-end, he said.
“We can only protect the interests of farmers together,” he said.
At the separate meetings in Sofia, Bratislava and Bucharest, he said he will “talk to the colleagues who, together with Hungary, made the brave decision to close their borders to protect farmers, thus pushing Brussels to issue a common EU regulation,” he said.
“What’s going to happen on September 16? That’s what I’m going to discuss with my Romanian, Bulgarian and Bratislava colleagues,” he said.
Later on Tuesday, Nagy met his Romanian counterpart, Florin-Ionut Barbu, in Bucharest. Nagy said that both countries allowed the transport of Ukrainian grain across their territory “because we don’t want to harm Ukraine, but we want to preserve the competitiveness of our farmers.” “We must work to deliver Ukrainian grain to ports as soon as possible so it can find its way to the traditional markets in north Africa and the Middle East,” he said.
At his talks with Kiril Vatev, his Bulgarian counterpart, in Sofia, Nagy highlighted the need for joint action against the glut of Ukrainian grain and a joint long-term solution to market disruptions.
“There is no doubt that we must continue to support the export of Ukraine’s agricultural products, especially following the collapse of Black Sea shipping,” the agriculture ministry cited Nagy as saying.
The three biggest challenges faced by the countries most affected by the grain imports are finishing the harvest, storing the products and selling them at good prices, he said.
Bulgaria’s situation is made more difficult by the fact that its storages are full of domestic sunflower seed, yet demand for the much cheaper Ukrainian grain is higher in the markets, the minister added.