By Sodiq Lawal
Hungary has joined Poland in banning the import of grains and other food products from Ukraine, in an effort to protect its domestic farming industry, according to official sources. The ban, which was announced by the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture, is temporary and will last until June 30. Ukrainian grain exports have been forced to take alternate routes through the European Union (EU) since Russia blocked access to the Black Sea, Xinhua News Agency reported. The Minister of Agriculture, Istvan Nagy, announced the ban, saying that the Hungarian government was committed to representing the interests of its farming community.
The ministry’s statement said that in the absence of meaningful EU measures, Hungary was temporarily prohibiting the importation of grain, oilseeds, and several other agricultural products from Ukraine, similar to Poland. Poland announced its own temporary ban on several Ukrainian foodstuffs, following protests by Polish farmers. The Hungarian ministry explained that the continuation of the current domestic market processes would cause serious damage to Hungarian agriculture, so “extraordinary measures must be put in place to hinder them”. The statement also cited cheap production practices not allowed in the EU, as well as duty-free and free trade opportunities, which have allowed large quantities of Ukrainian poultry, eggs, and honey to flow into the European market, making it difficult for domestic and Central European farmers to compete.