European agriculture ministers are meeting in Brussels today to discuss how to continue Ukrainian grain exports as Russia pulls out of a deal allowing exports through the Black Sea. The European Union wants as much Ukrainian grain as possible to go to Africa, the Middle East and Asia, where food shortages threaten.
At the same time, member states fear repercussions if more grain from Ukraine enters the European market. Ukrainian grain flooded the internal market even before Russia concluded the grain deal, as less grain could be shipped across the Black Sea than before the Russian invasion. As a result, most of the Ukrainian grain was sent overland to neighboring countries.
As a result, countries like Poland face grain surpluses. Not only does this reduce further exports from Ukraine, but it also makes it more difficult for local farmers to sell their own grain and get lower prices. So Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria have imposed an import ban on Ukrainian grain.
Poland’s agriculture minister wants to keep the import ban in place, but allow Ukrainian grain to pass through the country. Lithuania pleaded on Tuesday for part of Ukrainian grain exports to be sent through Lithuanian ports.
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