Poland announced Saturday it has temporarily blocked the import of Ukrainian grain and other food products after facing protests from Polish farmers. File Photo by Sergey Kozlov/EPA-EFE
April 15 (UPI) -- The Polish government on Saturday banned the import of Ukrainian grain in a bid to protect domestic farmers upset over the import of cheaper goods from their war-torn neighbor.
The Ministry of Agriculture announced that Poland's Council of Ministers has authorized it to "issue relevant legal acts for the protection of the Polish agricultural market against destabilization," including a temporary prohibition of imports of agricultural and food products from Ukraine, Poland's PAP news agency reported.
Polish leaders face increasing pressure from farmers who are upset about cheap Ukrainian grain imports. A wave of protests from farmers prompted Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Henryk Kowalczky to resign earlier this month.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party, confirmed the move at a party conference on Saturday according to Ukraine's state-run Ukrinform news agency.
Warsaw, he said, has "adopted a resolution prohibiting the import of grain into Poland, as well as dozens of other types of food products. I am unable to list them all. They are provided for in the appendix to this resolution -- from declared grain to honey products, a lot of products."
The party leader attributed the decision to "the asymmetry between Polish and Ukrainian agriculture, which is a consequence of the quality of the land, significantly lower wages in Ukraine and, finally, the fact that in Ukraine, international companies with extensive infrastructure are operating mainly on large acreages."
Kaczyński told party members that while Poland "will keep on supporting Ukraine," it also has "a duty to protect our citizens, farmers and avoid a crisis of our agriculture," Bloomberg reported.
Ukrainian officials said its own farmers are facing stress due to Russia's invasion and the ongoing warfare in the country.