Poland to make quality checks on all grain shipments from Ukraine, minister says

By Thomson Reuters Feb 12, 2024 | 5:34 AM

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland plans to start quality checks on all grain shipments from Ukraine, Deputy Agriculture Minister Michal Kolodziejczak said on Monday as Polish farmers continued nationwide protests against EU policies, including allowing cheap grain imports from Ukraine.

Farmers started blocking roads and border crossings with Ukraine on Friday, kicking off a month-long general strike to protest against EU policies and a lack of government action to protect their livelihoods.

Representatives of Poland’s new pro-European government have said they understand the challenges farmers are facing and that help for Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion could not come at the expense of Polish farmers.

“Today … I will request that all grain transports that are exported and have an embargo imposed on them be examined in Poland,” Kolodziejczak told state news agency PAP.

When such grain reaches Germany and, after examination, turns out to be of poor quality, he said, “99% of the time it returns to Poland as European grain” and not to Ukraine.

Farmers in France, Belgium, Portugal, Greece, Spain and Germany have been protesting against constraints placed on them by EU measures to tackle climate change, as well as rising costs and what they say is unfair competition from abroad.

Polish farmers have been particularly vocal about the impact of cheap food imports from neighbouring Ukraine.

(Reporting by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk and Pawel Florkiewicz; Editing by Susan Fenton)