26 Apr 2023 10:32

European market needs Ukrainian agricultural produce - minister

MOSCOW. April 25 (Interfax) - The cost of Ukrainian grain is not the reason why grain prices are growing in Europe, Ukrainian Agrarian Policy and Food Minister Nikolai Solsky said on Wednesday during his online speech at a meeting of the European Union's Agriculture and Fisheries Council.

The problems experienced by European farmers are not the fault of Ukrainian farmers: the reason for this situation in the European market is not the cost of Ukrainian grain but the crisis, the Ukrainian media quoted Solsky as saying in a statement released by the press service for the Agrarian Policy and Food Ministry.

Europe needs Ukrainian grain, corn, meal and other products, Solsky said. In his opinion, Ukrainian products are good for the European market. For instance, both Ukraine and Poland have benefited from Ukrainian imports in Poland. Meat and dairy exports from Ukraine grew 37% year-on-year, he said.

"These are the enterprises in need for feed, and grain from Ukraine has raised the competitiveness of Polish manufacturers. Exports of grain and processed grain from Poland have also grown 40%," Solsky said.

"Grain from Ukraine has enhanced the competitiveness of Polish manufacturers. Businesses in the neighboring country have been growing, as they used Ukrainian raw material among others. For instance, poultry production in Poland grew 8.2% in 2022, compared to 2021. Poland was an EU leading exporter of poultry to third countries. In the first quarter of 2023, Poland sold 10,500 tonnes of poultry to Ukraine, while Ukraine sold 4,000 tonnes, or 2.5 times less, to Poland," Solsky said.

Traders, carriers and ports have earned from Ukrainian grain, he said.

Agricultural trade between Ukraine and the European Union means food security of EU member states hit by last year's drought, Solsky said. It also means the efficiency of stock raising in Germany, the Netherlands and other such leaders, he said.

Solsky underlined the importance of the search for a common, mutually advantageous decision by discussions and negotiations.

"The opinion and the stance of our neighbors and the huge support we are continuing to receive are very important to us. We are conducting a discussion, because there is always a discussion between true friends and they always find a solution," Solsky said. He said he was hoping for a balanced decision of the European Commission.

The European Commission is holding negotiations with agriculture ministers from Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary who have unilaterally banned the imports of certain Ukrainian agricultural products. A Ukrainian governmental delegation visited those countries last week to hold talks and assess the stance of the neighbors. The Council of the European Union will settle the dispute over the future of solidarity paths, which allow duty-free exports of Ukrainian agricultural goods to the European Union and use of the neighbors' infrastructure for transit.