EU diplomates are rejecting bans raised by the Eastern European counties of Poland, Hungary and Slovakia on imports of Ukrainian grain and food products. The countries said the measures were necessary to protect their farming sectors from cheap imports.
Christopher Barrett is an agricultural and development economist whose research centers on food insecurity and global food markets. He says the import bans would only provide only short-term support for those nations’ farmers, while inflicting considerable harm on Ukraine.
“The bans will directly hurt Ukrainian farmers by driving down the prices they earn while they suffer already from manpower shortages, and land and equipment lost to the war Russia launched. If the bans lead to increased losses of perishable foods due to storage constraints, they could also aggravate food price inflation that has increased the number of undernourished people globally over the past two-plus years.
“The solution is straightforward—the EU can, and should, commit to buy Ukrainian grain immediately to ship to food importing, low-income countries facing high food prices and struggling to afford imports today.
“That would relieve pressure on domestic farmers in the EU while simultaneously supporting Ukraine and humanitarian operations worldwide. Only 13% of the resources needed for UN humanitarian appeals have been met thus far this year and the European Commission has provided only 7% of that amount, far less than its fair share (by comparison, the US has provided 48%).”