– In Europe, we are grateful for the economic support of free trade. The agreement in the form of the abolition of quotas and the abolition of tariffs on Ukrainian products allows us to export to the EU and the UK (…). In the current situation, this is a great achievement – this is how Yuri Kosiuk, pre-war billionaire and number 5 in the ranking of the richest people in Ukraine summed up last year.
He is the main shareholder (60 proc. shares) MHP listed on the London Stock Exchange, the largest Ukrainian producer and exporter of poultry meat.
What a tragic time of war, Yuri Kosiuk's business is doing surprisingly well. In the report of 11 of April announced, that the company noted 255 million dollars in operating profit. Export revenues skyrocketed 1,6 mld dol. (o 330 million dollars. more than a year earlier). The MHP annual report shows, that it was possible thanks to the opening of the European Union market to poultry from Ukraine. Previously, they did more business with clients in Arab countries and Africa.
At the beginning of June 2022 In 2006, the European Union granted Ukrainian poultry farmers free access to its market. This was done for a year, to “to revive the Ukrainian economy, severely weakened by the war”. Brussels is preparing an extension of access. The Polish poultry industry shook to its foundations.
Every expert knows, that the MHP agroholding, which controls half of the Ukrainian poultry market, has been lurking in Ukraine for years. Poor Ukrainian breeders are not behind it, only the capital of the London Stock Exchange and legions of foreign managers. They are led by 55-year-old Kosiuk, whose character was described by Ukrainian “Forbes”, picking up a telling quote about running a business: “When everyone is rowing, the boat moves forward. Who does not row, this one falls overboard”.
Polish producers found out a month after opening the market, that the company of the Ukrainian rich man gains mainly. – Most of 163 thousand. tons of meat, that entered the EU from Ukraine last year, comes from this one company. Every month it was the equivalent 700 trucks coming to the EU – says WP Dariusz Goszczyński, president of the National Poultry Council-Chamber of Commerce. It refers to data from the European Commission, which monitors transactions with Ukraine.
In the Netherlands, MHP has its processing plants and after repackaging the product spread throughout the EU at prices unattainable for us, downright dumped – adds Goszczynski. – As a result, we have chicken breast after in stores 13-14 zloty, when the Polish manufacturer has nothing to think about profitability, if the price is below 19 zloty. This product displaces Polish poultry from an important segment of the EU market, which is the supply of restaurants and hotels – he adds.
Ukrainian chickens can be much cheaper than those bred in the EU. This is because, that they do not meet the requirements, on animal welfare, np. density of the hen house or the use of drugs during breeding. Nobody claims, that they are bad, or poisonous, but they push products from Poland off the tables.
Meanwhile, Poles have ruled the EU market so far (got there 63 proc. poultry meat exports). One of the Polish presidents claims, that it has already lost an important foreign contract to a Ukrainian competitor. He doesn't want to admit it, because he is afraid, that his other customers could also choose Ukrainian chicken.
The storm around poultry follows a similar course to the case of Ukrainian grain, which filled Polish silos, leading to farmers' protests. “We understand the need to continue to support Ukraine, but it's not fair, that some sectors in some Member States, in particular in Poland, have to pay a very high price for this help. If measures are not taken soon, the survival of our poultry industry will be at stake” – Jarosław Kalinowski, MEPs, wrote to the European Commission in March, Adam Jarubas and Krzysztof Hetman
Janusz Wojciechowski is to answer them, EU Commissioner for. agriculture (let's remind, is an old friend from PSL, from 2010 year in PiS). Back in January, Commissioner Wojciechowski replied to a similar question from another MEP, that there is not yet a sufficient basis for action. “The Commission is aware of the concerns of the industry related to the increased imports of poultry and eggs from Ukraine” – he wrote back.
In Poland, officials are beginning to change their tone. – We care a lot about it, so that products do not come to Poland, which may harm not only the health of Poles, but also our economy. Each transport entering Poland will be examined. I communicated this to the Minister of Agriculture of Ukraine – said the new Minister of Agriculture Robert Telus. Interia journalists inquired about the flood of cheap poultry on the EU market.
Possible, that the novice minister did not know, that on the same day, at another meeting with farmers-breeders, a representative of the veterinary services reported, that, for procedural reasons, it is not possible to test all batches of poultry meat and eggs imported into the EU. This information was provided by activists of the National Federation of Poultry Breeders and Egg Producers.
11 April they visited the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Janusz Kowalski, getting a more emphatic statement from him. “There is a recommendation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to restore customs duties and quotas for poultry meat and fresh eggs from Ukraine. This position is to be forwarded to the European Commission” – Kowalski assured.