Poland's government is finalising a package of subsidies to help farmers affected by low grain prices, a deputy agriculture minister said on Thursday, adding that help would be available to farmers but not trading firms.

The government wants to allocate about 2 billion zlotys ($503.71 million) to buy excess grain from its farmers, another deputy minister from the agriculture ministry has said.

The farmers have been protesting over low prices they attribute to imports from Ukraine as well as constraints placed on them by European Union environmental regulations.

"The directive is in its final stages," deputy agriculture minister Michal Kolodziejczak told parliament. "It provides aid for producers of wheat, rye, triticale and barley. It will cover those who sell from Jan. 1 to May 31."

He said that there were no plans to offer help to "companies who want to buy or trade".

"The big problem has been the low prices so far ... and I'm not surprised that farmers didn't want to sell grain at such a price," Kolodziejczak said.

He said that 165,000 farms had already received a total of 691 million zlotys in aid for corn producers and that Poland was using EU funds to build silos for storing grain.

He said that exports of grain by ship from Poland were up 26% year on year in March and that around 1 million tonnes should be exported by sea in April.


($1 = 3.9705 zlotys) (Reporting by Alan Charlish, Pawel Florkiewicz. Editing by Jane Merriman)