Wheat Ukraine: Moldova in favor of restrictions, then it reconsiders
Kiev had threatened a similar and specular blockade of imports from Chisinau
On blocking imports of Ukrainian wheat, Moldova takes a step back. On 6 May, Moldovan Agriculture Minister Vladimir Bolea announced that his government was evaluating restrictive measures similar to those already adopted by Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria (see EFA News). The minister's statements had unleashed the wrath of Kiev, which promptly replied with a counter-proposal for a similar and parallel ban. "We have informed Chisinau that any restriction from Moldova will be considered an extremely hostile step and would result in an immediate ban on all imports from Moldova," said Ukraine's Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture, Taras Kacika .
As reported today by the Moldovan media, in the meantime the minister has changed his mind. Imposing the blockade on Ukrainian cereals "would solve nothing", since "it would neither increase selling prices for Moldovan farmers nor reduce costs. This solution would not produce results. On the contrary - Bolea said - Ukraine would impose restrictions on import of Moldovan products, and therefore a lot would be lost". Furthermore, according to the minister, the quantity of agricultural products imported from Ukraine is rather insignificant: the quantity amounts to about 177 tons of wheat and 4,000 sunflower seeds. Bolea also said that Moldovan authorities are not considering imposing restrictions on the transit of Ukrainian-produced grain through Moldova.
“Transit operations do not negatively affect us. Thanks to the transit, the Calea Ferată din Moldova [Moldovan Railway, ed.] was able to recover: the company had paid the salaries and had even increased them”, underlined the minister.
As in other Eastern European countries, in Moldova the request for a block on imports from Ukraine came directly from farmers, who saw the prices of their products suddenly drop after Ukrainian cereals had begun to flow massively towards their border, due to Russia's blockade of Black Sea ports. “The amount of domestic grain in warehouses is high, which puts pressure on farmers. They are worried about not having room for the new crop”, Bolea explained.
"At the same time, local grain export performance is trending downward, logistics costs have increased, and international trade prices have plummeted," he added.
Ukraine exported $20.6 million worth of grain to Moldova in 2022, 5.2 times more than in 2021, as well as $57 million worth of petroleum products, 21 times more than in 2021 .
EFA News - European Food Agency