Czechia won't ban the import of grain and meat from Ukraine

Some Czech farmers are worried that the influx of cheaply imported Ukrainian grain will harm them economically.

Thomas Smith ČTK

Written by Thomas SmithČTK Published on 20.04.2023 12:00:00 (updated on 20.04.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Ministry of Agriculture has announced today that Czechia will not ban the import of grain and meat from Ukraine. This is in contrast with neighbors Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary, who all banned imports from Ukraine in the past week.

No reason to stop trade

According to Minister of Agriculture Zdeněk Nekula, inspections by Czech food supervisory authorities revealed no shortcomings or discrepancies in the food quality imported from Ukraine. 

Nekula said that calls to ban Ukrainian grain imports were “populist” and not necessary. He also said that just 4,000 tons of wheat were imported into Czechia annually, which is less than 0.1 percent of total domestic production.

Czechia's eastern neighbors are unhappy

Some of Czechia’s bordering countries have banned imports to protect their own farmers, as the import of Ukrainian grain has seen a fall in prices of wheat and other products. Poland, for example, claims that Ukrainian grain is of inadequate quality due to potential contamination.

The price of wheat is at its lowest level in Czechia since February 2022. The Czech Agriculture Ministry also recently noted that 10 times the normal amount of Ukrainian wheat – 3.5 million tons – has been imported into the EU in the past 14 months.

Much cheaper wheat

Since mid-May 2022, the price of one bushel (about 35 liters) of wheat has fallen from CZK 300 to CZK 148 now.

The falling price of wheat.
The falling price of wheat in Czechia. "Bušl" = Bushel. Source:

One reason why Ukrainian grain is so cheap to import for Czechia is because the EU, since the start of the 2022 war, has dropped many customs duties on exports from Ukraine.

The EU has criticized the decisions of the other Visegrad Group countries to ban Ukrainian imports, with the European Commission pointing out that changes to trade law can only be made on an EU-wide level, rather than unilaterally. 

EU talks ahead

Last month, the EU also put together an aid package worth a total EUR 56 million to help EU countries’ farmers who felt economically disadvantaged by the influx of Ukrainian grain.

Nekula, together with EU agriculture ministers, will next week discuss the issue more intensively in order to find a solution. Nekula is of the opinion that Ukrainian should be able to trade freely with EU and non-EU countries in order to boost its economy.

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