Thousands of angry farmers descended on the Polish capital on Wednesday to protest EU environmental rules and cheap imports from Ukraine and elsewhere outside the bloc.

Blowing horns, throwing smoke bombs and firecrackers and lighting fires, the farmers gathered outside the prime minister's office in Warsaw, while others used their tractors to block highways nationwide.

"I want to produce healthy food but we're importing products lower in quality than ours with which we can't compete in terms of price," said protester Jan Kepa, who has a farm in southwestern Poland.

"We still have hope but we've been protesting for over a month and so far there's been no satisfying solution for us," he told AFP.

Polish farmers have also been blocking border crossings with Ukraine since last month to protest at what they say is unfair competition from goods entering the Polish market from Ukraine.


Ukraine, once dubbed "Europe's breadbasket", has seen its agriculture sector crippled by Russia's invasion.

Many of its major export routes through the Black Sea have been blocked and its farmland rendered unusable by warfare.

In a bid to help Kyiv economically, the European Union in 2022 scrapped tariffs on Ukrainian goods transiting the 27-nation bloc by road.

But logistical problems mean a lot of the Ukrainian cereal exports destined for non-EU countries have accumulated in Poland, undercutting local producers.

- 'Absurd regulations' -

The border blockades and grain dispute have put a strain on ties between Poland and Ukraine, even as Warsaw has shown its neighbour staunch support since the Russian invasion.

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Farmers in several other EU countries have also been protesting for weeks.

Warsaw protester Tomasz Stachow, who owns a farm in southern Poland, told AFP that he wants to "live with dignity above all".

"And at the moment, prices are below the break-even point," he said, denouncing the European "Green Deal", a set of laws aimed at helping the bloc meet its climate goals.

"These are absurd regulations that farmers must conform to, which will only make the situation worse and raise production costs and product prices."


Prime Minister Donald Tusk said last week the government was mulling a temporary closure of the border with Ukraine for goods.

On Monday, he called on the European Union to impose full sanctions on food and agricultural imports from Russia and Belarus -- a proposal backed by Ukraine.

Tusk said EU-wide sanctions would make it possible to "more effectively protect the EU's agricultural and food markets" and "fully open up the possibilities of exporting Ukrainian produce... to third countries".

Tusk is due to hold talks with Polish farmers on Saturday.

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Comments (3)
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Poland produced 13,200,000 tonnes of its own wheat in 2021/22 fiscal year (FY).

In that prewar year Poland imported a modest 3,033 tonnes of wheat. In the subsequent 2022/23 FY year it imported much more: 579,315 tonnes of wheat. Thats a whopping 191 X increase in Polish wheat imports. Is that significantly impactful though?

Doing the math even the 2022/23 fiscal year's increase wheat import still only represent 4.38% of what Poland produces. Not much really and even not all of that can be attributed to Ukraine. The EU and assumedly Poland also imports wheat from Canada, Moldova, Russia and Serbia.

Now what impacts Polish wheat prices more:

1. A 4.38% Polish wheat crop supply dilution from importing
- lowers consumer price and farmer sell price marginally.

2. The EU price increase of a railcar of fertilizer from $2500 prewar to $7000 in 2023? 
- that's almost a 300% input cost increase. Note diesel also rose 30%. 

3. Global wheat prices dropping 40% in part due to Russian flooding the market with a 100,000,000 tonnes of stolen / surplus wheat last year 

Answer: #3 followed by # 2. # 1 ...hardly at all.

Even in 2023, Ukraine had almost negligibly impact on Polish wheat prices. This year with even more ridid controls it has zero impact.

The Polish farmer riots are being fomented by MRGA falsehoods.
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Input cost (fertilizer, diesel) inflation impacts margins globally. Also that in the first year of the war Poland imported and domestically consumed <10% of its own production worth of grain from Ukraine. 

However in 2023 while Ukraine common wheat exports to EU (4.38 million tonnes) represented 68% of EU supply last year, Poland itself only imported a minuscule 1 tonne:

This huge drop is explained by newer bilateral rules requiring Ukraine common wheat crossing Polands border, to now be 'bonded' (Sealed transportation), during transit only to nations outside of Poland.

I checked global commodity charts and wheat prices drops of 40-50% are reported.

Meanwhile Bloomberg business news indicates russian wheat exports have almost doubled since this war started. They drove the world wheat prices down by flooding the markets with wheat.

High inflation, low commodity prices impact farmers globally.

---------___To be continued---------------
Joseph Swanson
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

unfair competition. No such thing as unfair competition...competition is competition. What these farmers really want is protectionism.

I see janusz korwin mikke is stirring things up...again on behalf of russia.

This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Joseph Swanson,

I see Joseph Swanson with 'competition is competition' statment again. It would be nice to see something more than 'copy'+'paste'.
For example.
You could write a little bit about custom duty / import duty tax in the modern world and its history.
Is this a common practice nowdays?
And so on.