17 May 2023 09:35

New Slovak agriculture minister to focus on tackling Ukrainian agricultural import problems

MOSCOW. May 17 (Interfax) - Slovak President Zuzana Caputova has appointed the country's new agriculture minister, who will focus on tackling problems related to the import of agricultural products from Ukraine, Ukrainian media outlets said, citing information circulated by Slovakia's Agriculture Ministry on social media on Tuesday.

Slovakia's new agriculture minister is Josef Bires, who has headed the State Veterinary and Food Administration of Slovakia for about 17 years and held the post of a professor at the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Kosice for three years.

Bires sees find common Slovakia-EU solutions to the issue of agricultural imports from Ukraine as his top priority, the Slovak ministry said. Bires also believes that it is necessary to enhance the capacities of laboratories that control agricultural crops and their products.

Among other measures, the newly appointed minister will look for solutions for Slovak farmers who are still storing last year's unsold harvest at their warehouses.

As reported, on April 13 Slovakia banned the processing of grain imported from Ukraine and the sale of products from this grain on the domestic market after pesticides were found in shipments from Ukraine. Together with the Agricultural Ministries of Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania, the Slovak minister then informed the European Commission of plans to ban the import of a large number of agricultural products from Ukraine.

The European Commission introduced safeguard measures on May 2, banning the import of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed to these five EU member countries, which are Ukraine's neighbors. The measures will remain in effect until June 5 and may be extended until the end of 2023.