March 25, 2023

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European Rural Journal | RFI Romania: Actuality, information, live news

The European Commission does not believe that grain exports from Ukraine distort the market

The European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, dismissed in a press conference last week the warnings of Romanian farmers about the negative impact of the influx of Ukrainian grain through the so-called solidarity corridors on their businesses. “It does not negatively affect either the situation of farmers or prices,” Wojciechowski said, according to, insisting that there are no problems in the sale of grain by European farmers and that market monitoring by the European Executive shows no collapse in prices.

Romanian grain producers say that the solidarity lines should have allowed the transit of cheaper Ukrainian goods to third countries or net importing European states, but that they are sold on the Romanian market, affecting local competitiveness and the quality of products consumed domestically.

Price increases for agricultural products in the EU

In the European Union, the largest price increases of agricultural production, in the second quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2021, were registered in Lithuania (+65%), Estonia (+53%) and Hungary (+ 43%), and the lowest growth rates were recorded in Denmark, Malta and Portugal, according to Eurostat. Particularly strong increases were noted in cereals (+68%), seeds and oleaginous fruits (+59%).

In 12 European Union countries, agricultural input prices rose by more than 40% on average, with peaks recorded in Lithuania (+91%), Latvia (+62%) and Croatia (+50%), and the lowest growth rates were in Malta, Denmark, Italy, Cyprus and Romania. Considerable price increases were recorded in fertilizers and soil improvers, by 116%, and in energy and lubricants, by 61%.

Direct payments are growing in Poland

Polish farmers who exploit an area between 1 and 50 hectares will receive, on average, direct payments of around 270 euros per hectare, predicts the European commissioner for agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski. This sum exceeds by at least 10 euros the average of direct payments in the 27 member states, Wojciechowski wrote on his Twitter page, adding that farmers who will put more emphasis on animal welfare and carbon sequestration in agricultural soils will receive a lot more.

Poland’s National Strategic Plan was approved by the European Commission at the end of August, being among the first plans to receive the green light for the application of the new common agricultural policy from January 1, 2023.

Europeans, forced to reduce food waste

The European Commission is working on the first legislation of the Union that will establish mandatory objectives for reducing food waste, in accordance with the “Farm to Fork” Strategy. On the occasion of International Food Waste Awareness Day, celebrated every year on 29 September, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said that the European Union will step up its contribution to the global goal of halving food waste by year 2030 and that loss elimination measures will be integrated into other EU policies. By the end of this year, the Commission will propose new rules on the use-by date marking of foods to avoid the misunderstanding of the ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ indications that currently exist on packaging.
Through the Horizon program, the European Commission finances research and innovation activities in the agri-food sector, including the identification of solutions that contribute to the reduction of food waste.

The Industrial Emissions Directive will apply to agriculture in a few years

The majority of member state delegations meeting at the Agrifish Council last week expressed their disagreement on the revision of the Directive on industrial emissions related to agriculture. The relevant ministers assess the threshold of 150 beef units (UVM) for livestock farms as far too low and believe that extending the scope of the directive will increase the administrative burden for both farmers and the administration and involve additional costs for adaptation farms to the new rules. Several delegations suggested that the directive should establish a methodology allowing the threshold to be determined according to the conditions existing in each Member State.

The European Commission assured member states that the methodology for setting the proposed thresholds and the principles for implementing the Directive were based on objective data and that it would listen to the comments of all interested parties in further discussions on the changes.

In April of this year, the European Commission presented the proposals for updating the directive on industrial emissions. It extended the scope of applicability to new poultry and pig farms by reducing the UVM threshold and, for the first time, included cattle farms under the directive.

The legislative process is long. The Commission’s proposal will have to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council, and the member states will transpose this directive into national legislation within 18 months. After that, available techniques will be developed and farmers will have three years to comply.

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