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Polish Agriculture Minister Resigns Over Grain Inflow from Ukraine

Farmers are upset about Ukrainian grain exports, which they claim are lowering market prices. Warsaw has asked the European Union for assistance in mitigating the impact of Ukraine grain flooding into the union, as Russian soldiers prevent shipments leaving Black Sea ports during the country's invasion.

Shivam Dwivedi
Henryk Kowalczyk, Polish Agriculture Minister Resigns Over Grain Inflow from Ukraine
Henryk Kowalczyk, Polish Agriculture Minister Resigns Over Grain Inflow from Ukraine

Following protests by farmers, Poland's agricultural minister announced his resignation on Wednesday. However, the minister, Henryk Kowalczyk, stated that his decision to retire was spurred by the EU's recent proposal to extend duty-free imports of Ukrainian cereals.

"It shows very clearly that the Commission will not meet this basic demand of the farmers," Kowalczyk told journalists, declining to take questions.

His resignation comes on the same day as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy travels to Poland to meet with Polish leaders and talk to audiences in Warsaw's historic district.

The importation of grain and other agricultural products from Ukraine would be considered during the negotiations, according to Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

During Ukraine's battle against Russia, Poland has been one of its staunchest friends, but it has seen a wave of protests from farmers who believe the influx of Ukrainian grain is harming their livelihoods.

Zlodymyr Zaleskyy, the Ukrainian president, visited Warsaw on April 5 amid a political crisis sparked by the resignation of Poland's agriculture minister over the country's inability to reduce the volume of Ukrainian agricultural imports. This is a major political issue for Law and Justice, the ruling party, as it seeks to keep farmers' support ahead of this autumn's parliamentary election, as farmers are increasingly unhappy with falling produce prices due to the surge in Ukrainian imports.

Zaleskyy was welcomed with all the fanfare accorded to visiting heads of state. Military bands and marching troops greeted him as he arrived at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, where Duda presented him with a medal for his "exemplary leadership of state and nation".

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