Concessions for Ukrainian farmers equates to strain for Romanian farmers

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Romanian farmers have showed solidarity with Ukrainian farmers in light of the problems generated by the conflict in Ukraine, but the concessions have directly affected the activity and the financial stability of Romanian farmers, according to an open letter issued by the representatives of a series of Romanian farmers’ organizations, reports AGERPRES.

„As a country sharing a border with Ukraine, Romania has offered unconditional support for Ukrainian refugees and contributed without reservation to facilitating the transit of agricultural produce from Ukraine to the other member states of the European Union and to third destinations. Romanian farmers showed full solidarity in their relationship with Ukrainian farmers and understood that it is important that, in these difficult times, they contribute to avoid the expansion of the problems generated by the conflict as a food crisis in third world countries. The European Council passing a regulation allowing the temporary liberalization of trade, as well as other commercial concessions regarding certain Ukrainian products, has generated, in addition to the desired effects, negative collateral consequences, which directly affected the activity and financial stability of Romanian farmers, incurring financial losses on them, VAT and tax levied on negative differences and bearing the costs generated by these situations. (…) We have emphasized, repeatedly, the problems generated by intermediaries mixing together products from Ukraine and products from Romania and failing to specify their correct origin; that affects the image of Romania on the international markets and will have a long-term effect on prices for Romanian products. The irregularities and deviations from quality standards frustrate the efforts, by no means few, of European farmers to be suppliers of clean food”, reads the open letter signed by the Pro Agro National Federation, the League of Romania’s Associations of Agricultural Producers (LAPAR) and the National Union of Vegetable Sector Co-operatives (UNCSV).

According to the letter, if roughly 100 euros per ton of product for the agricultural goods currently grounded in the warehouses/silos of the farmers are not granted, Romanian farmers will supposedly face bankruptcy in 2023.

„It is unfair competition to Romania, to us, to farmers and co-operatives: since we are not allowed to grow plants resulting from modern breeding techniques, how can we import GMO agri-food products without the necessary and mandatory traceability? There is no fairness and solidarity between the EU member states to solve this specific problem of the crisis. We believe that without financial aid of at least 100 euros/tonne of product for the agricultural goods currently grounded in the farmers’ warehouses/silos, we will discuss of the bankruptcy of Romanian farmers in 2023”, state the representatives, who claim this pressure has been present since March 2022.

„Tariffs on the various components of logistics increased uncontrollably — at least 5 times — and Romanian farmers were penalised by high costs. The availability of means of transport – railcars, lorries, barges, etc. – was another major impediment, because all was diverted to crossing points to transport Ukrainian goods, as the owners of logistics firms were attracted by the high prices paid by Ukrainian sellers. Additional Ukrainian cargos put high pressure on prices leading to diving prices for rapeseed crops, poultry meat and eggs, honey, milk, etc.”

According to their estimates, the financial impact on Romanian farmers adds up to about 200 million euros in losses for circa two million tons of such goods blocked in stockpiles.

The signatories of the open letter add that the that farmers set up agricultural crops on high production costs in 2022 and 2023, while their low selling prices lead to a losing proposition, and in the short and medium term this will mean bankruptcy and, consequently, local farmers in Romania will have to give up their activities.

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