WARSAW — A Polish ban on imports of Ukrainian grain and other food will also apply to the transit of these products through the country, the development and technology minister said on Sunday.
Poland and Hungary said on Saturday that they had decided to ban imports from neighboring Ukraine to protect the local agricultural sector after a flood of supply depressed prices across the region. The Polish ban came into effect on Saturday evening.
“The ban is full, including the ban on transit through Poland,” Waldemar Buda wrote on Twitter, adding that talks would be held with the Ukrainian side to create a system that ensures goods only pass through Poland and do not end up on the local market.
Ukraine’s ministry of agrarian policy and food said on Saturday that the Polish ban contradicted existing bilateral agreements on exports, and called for talks to settle the issue.
Ukraine’s state-run Ukrinform news agency said Ukrainian and Polish ministers are due to meet on Monday in Poland and the transit arrangement would be focused on in the talks.
Ukraine exports most of its agricultural goods, especially grain, via its Black Sea ports, unblocked in July in line with an agreement between Ukraine, Turkey, Russia and the United Nations.
Around 3 million tonnes of grain left Ukraine every month via the Black Sea grain corridor while only up to 200,000 tonnes are moving to European ports through Polish territory, according to the Ukrainian ministry.
Ukraine’s farm minister Mykola Solsky said at the weekend that 500,000 to 700,000 tonnes of various agricultural products cross the Polish border every month, including grain, vegetable oil, sugar, eggs, meat and other products.
After Russia’s invasion blocked some Black Sea ports, large quantities of Ukrainian grain, which is cheaper than that produced in the European Union, ended up staying in Central European states due to logistical bottlenecks, hitting prices and sales for local farmers.
The issue has created a political problem for Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party in an election year as it has angered people in rural areas where support for the party is usually high. (Reporting by Alan Charlish, additional reporting by Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv; Editing by Sharon Singleton and Hugh Lawson)