Agriculture Minister István Nagy on Tuesday discussed the extension of the ban on Ukrainian grain imports into the European Union with his central European counterparts. At his talks with his Romanian counterpart, Florin-Ionuţ Barbu, in Bucharest, Nagy said 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. He said the three biggest challenges faced by the countries most affected by the grain imports were finishing the harvest, storing the products and selling them at good prices. 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, he said. “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.
In a Facebook post ahead of the talks, Nagy said 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, should be extended at least until year-end. “We can only protect the interests of farmers together,” he said.