Zelenskyy Thanks Bulgaria for Lifting Ban on Ukrainian Farm Imports

“I am grateful to Bulgaria for its decision not to prolong restrictions on Ukraine’s agricultural exports after September 15th,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted on Thursday. “I thank PM Nikolai Denkov and his team, as well as Bulgarian parliamentarians who supported this move. Bulgaria sets an example of true solidarity,” the Ukrainian leader added.

Earlier in the day, Bulgaria’s Parliament voted, 124-69 with 8 abstentions, to lift the ban on the import of wheat, maize, rape and sunflower seed originating from Ukraine, effective September 16, 2023.

The resolution reads that taking into view Bulgaria’s solidarity with Ukraine and considering the need of agricultural product supplies for global food security, Bulgaria does not support the extension  beyond September 15, 2023 of the ban on Ukrainian wheat, corn, rapeseed, and sunflower seed imports in Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. According to the resolution, the lift of the ban will not put at risk Bulgarian agricultural producers’ competitiveness.

Before the vote, Agriculture and Food Minister Kiril Vatev told Parliament that he agreed with macroeconomic indicators shown to the Council of Ministers, according to which the notion of Bulgaria giving up its demand to continue the ban on imports from Ukraine is “not so worrying”. The Minister said that among the measures that will be implemented is increasing the control on all imported Ukrainian goods, especially cereals, and strictly controlling the presence of radioactivity and heavy metals, herbicides and pesticides.

Meanwhile, the Bulgarian Farmers Union urged that Bulgaria should request additional compensations from the European Commission (EC) for Bulgarian grain producers’ losses, especially those of sunflower, after the lift of the ban on Ukrainian grain imports on Friday. “The Government and farmers together should determine a package of measures in support of the branch and request resources from the EC. The money is needed to provide resource for the autumn sowing and to guarantee the new harvest. Also, the control on the imports of Ukrainian agricultural produce should be increased,” said Bulgarian Farmers Union head Georgi Stoyanov.