Polish farmers will block the border with Lithuania because of Ukrainian grain

Source:  AgroPortal.ua

Polish farmers are planning to block truck traffic at a checkpoint on the border with Lithuania, where they believe Ukrainian grain is coming from.

This was reported by Wiadomosci.

According to the coordinator of the blockade on the border with Lithuania, Karol Pieczynski, the protesters want to stop the phenomenon they call the “grain carousel.”

The farmer believes that Ukrainian grain first transits to Lithuania through the Lublin or Podkarpackie voivodeships of Poland. After crossing the Polish-Lithuanian border, Polish services no longer track grain transport. Then, according to Pieczynski, the products change their documents and return to Poland.

The activist said that the blockade of Budzyska, the most important checkpoint on the border with Lithuania, is scheduled to begin on March 1 at about 10:00 a.m. and last for a week. Farmers from the Warmia and Mazury and Podlasie voivodeships will take part in the action.

The protesters are convinced that farmers in these voivodeships have been most affected by the “grain carousel”. In 2023, they were allegedly unable to sell their crops at a satisfactory price, while products from Ukraine flooded the regional market.

Polish farmers demand that Lithuania join the European Union’s transit program. Then Ukrainian grain would be shipped to the port of Klaipeda and then exported by ship to markets outside the EU. This is the main requirement for blocking the Polish-Lithuanian border.

“In terms of value, rice exports in seven months of the fiscal year have already reached what the country achieved in the last financial year,” Kewlani said in a telephonic conversation Feb. 18.

Basmati rice exports during July to January rose 24% to 398,764 mt compared with 320,751 mt year on year, according to data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

Non-basmati exports rose to 2.924 million mt in the seven months ended Jan. 31, as compared with 1.661 million mt in prior-year period, a rise of 76%, the data showed.

The country’s fiscal year runs from July to June.

Global rice prices are up because of an export ban imposed by the Indian government in a bid to curb inflation, with the country’s market share previously around 40%, said a commodity expert.

Rice price appreciation

“As compared with last year, the price of rice has increased by 25% to 30%, which has helped the country earn more of foreign exchange through shipments of the commodity,” said Kewlani.

In the seven months of the current fiscal year, exports amounted to $2.1 billion as compared with $1.083 billion, registering an increase of 95%, the government data said.

Basmati rice exports fetched on an average $1,146/mt compared with $1,044/mt last year while non-basmati on an average fetched around $567/mt whereas last year it worked out to be $449/mt, Hamid Malik, a commodity expert, said.

Platts assessed Pakistani 5% broken white rice $17/mt down on the week at $602/mt FOB Feb. 16, S&P Global Commodity Insights data showed.

Platts assessed Pakistani Brown Basmati 2% broken up at $861/mt FOB FCL, reflecting a higher bid and withdrawal of lower offers, in the week to Feb. 16, S&P Global data showed.

Rice output would comfortably cross 9 million mt during the current season by June 30, said Kewlani.

Last year, floods swept away standing crops thus limiting the overall rice production, resulting in a loss of 1.5 million mt to 2 million mt of rice. The magnitude of destruction in the Sindh province was near to 60%, said another commodity expert.

New markets

In view of the good crop this season, rice exporters have started increasing their footprints in new markets.

“We have increased our penetration in Indonesia, Malaysia and some African countries and fetched some good number of huge orders,” Kewlani said.

Non-Basmati exports to Indonesia rose to $274 million in the seven months to Jan. 31 from $27 million of the corresponding period a year ago, according to customs data.

Exports to Malaysia rose to $206 million from $53 million mt and to Afghanistan up to $153 million from $77 million, the data showed.

Rice exports to Senegal went up to $82 million from $660,000, Djibouti up to $62 million from $1.71 million and to Madagascar to $77 million from $3.9 million, the customs data showed.

Mexico and Russia will soon be added to Pakistan’s export destinations as we have completed all the requirements for both countries, such as health and quality standards, where we have sought approvals from our plant protection department as well from the country’s counterparts, the chairman said.

UAE with a $85 million, Saudi Arabia with $51 million and Oman with $43 million were the top buyers of Pakistani Basmati rice during the first seven months of the current fiscal year, the customs data showed. Exports rose to $28.5 million from Yemen compared with $1.84 million last year in the same period.

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