12 Apr 2023 12:13

Romanian farmers demanding ban on grain imports from Ukraine

MOSCOW. April 12 (Interfax) - Romanian farmers have threatened to begin a nationwide protest on June 7 unless the authorities ban Ukrainian grain import and transit from June 15, 2023, through March 15, 2024, the Alliance for Agriculture and Cooperation (AAC) said.

"As a way to protect operations of farmers and the agricultural and food industry, we are urging President Klaus Iohannis, the prime minister , heads [of PNL and PSD parties] Nicolae Cuca and Marcel Ciolacu, and [Agriculture Minister] Petre Daea to be firmer in representing interests of Romania and to take every legal step and diplomatic measure to ban the transit and import of agricultural products from Ukraine from June 15, 2023, through March 15, 2024," the Ukrainian media quoted a statement by AAC adevarul.ro.

The alliance said that the agricultural market "had been seriously deformed to the detriment of Romanian farmers." It also claimed that most farmers had to shut down their enterprises in 2023 because of the high cost of crop cultivation and the prospect of selling their products at prices below the prime cost "will not save them even if the terms of production are good."

The alliance said that 10 million euros allocated by the European Commission to Romania for mitigating the losses was insignificant. "At best, the money could be spent on the recovery, at least the partial one, of the road infrastructure damaged by the intensive transit of Ukrainian goods," the AAC said.

AAC members - the PROAGRO national federation, the League of Romanian Associations of Farm Producers (LAPAR), the National Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (UNCSV) and the Forum of Professional Farmers and Processors from Romania (FAPPR) - cultivate crops and raise cattle on an area of over 4.7 million hectares and employ over 56.6% of all agricultural workers and 20% of all food industry workers in Romania.

Farmers protested against the growing grain supply from Ukraine, on which the European Union had temporarily lifted duties, in Poland, Slovakia, Czechia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria last week.