The move, agreed jointly with Ukraine, follows waves of social unrest and the resignation of Poland’s agriculture minister.
Poland will temporarily stop all imports of grain from Ukraine, the two countries’ governments announced Friday.
The measure comes after a meeting earlier in the day between Poland’s new Agriculture Minister Robert Telus, who took office Thursday, with his Ukrainian counterpart Mykola Solskyi at a border crossing between the two countries.
“The Ukrainian side has proposed to severely restrict, and for the moment even stop completely, grain arrivals to Poland,” Telus said during a joint press conference after the meeting. He added that restrictions would not extend to the transit of grain intended for other countries.
Following Russia’s invasion, Ukraine was forced to divert around half of its exports from the blocked Black Sea ports into Poland, Hungary, Romania and other border countries. The move, facilitated by the European Commission and EU countries, was meant to throw an economic lifeline to Ukraine, one of the world’s largest agricultural producers, and ensure its exports could reach global markets.
But, instead of leaving the EU’s eastern member countries, much of the produce has instead flooded local markets.
Earlier this week, Telus’ predecessor, Henryk Kowalczyk, resigned amid mass farmers’ protests over the issue. Romania and Bulgaria have seen similar waves of unrest, with farmers staging demonstrations in the capitals and blocking border crossings.
“The situation is difficult for both Ukrainian and Polish farmers. We all understand who is to blame, but we have to solve this problem. The Ukrainian side will refrain from exporting wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower to Poland until the new season,” Solskyi said, referring to this summer’s harvest.
Solskyi added that the two sides would meet again in the coming days to ensure smooth transit of grain intended for other countries.
“We are counting on the most constructive position of the Polish side regarding the transit of Ukrainian grain to Polish ports and ports of other EU countries,” he said.