Hungary Newsflash Week 9

EU subsidy spending, new ASF cases, sustainable mobility webinar announcement, police raid on illegal dog fighting ring, climate change panel launch - The week in Hungarian agriculture

Beeld: ©kangbch
Large holds bring in large subsidies. The RTL Klub channel reports that in the last fifteen years, €19.24 billion went into Hungary's agriculture in the form of EU subsidies. The largest amount of subsidies in Hungarian agriculture go to large enterprises.

Weekly briefing

  • Meat industry: The Hungarian National Food Chain Safety Office is about to launch an investigation into the health effects of meat replacement products. State Secretary Erdős of the Ministry of Agriculture commented that he does not believe that meat analogues, soy, insect, and other products can succesfully replace meat. More in our news update here.
  • Horticulture: In Hungary’s fruit and vegetable growing sectors, there are both challenges and opportunities today. We recently published an article on the major sectoral trends. You can find the article here.
  • Organic farming: A recent report by IFOAM shows that Hungary is one of the top 10 fastest-developing countries in organic farming in terms of the increase of land area used in organic production. Organic horticulture is also showing promising figures. Details here.
  • Pig sector: Inspectors shut down a slaughterhouse in Hungary for serious regulation breaches and seized more than 12 tons of unlabeled food as part of a slaughterhouse inspection campaign. More on this here.
  • Environmental protection: The Court of Justice of the European Union, in a final arbitration in a ten-year-long case, declared that Hungary has infringed the rules of EU law on ambient air quality. The news portal HVG reports that although on paper Hungary is committed to preserving air quality, annually around 13 thousand premature deaths can be tied to air pollution in Hungary as well as an average of €1670 in health damages for every citizen living in urban areas. The official text of the arbitration can be found here.

The owners of the biggest holdings get most of the EU subsidies

The TV channel RTL Klub recently reported that since the 2004 accession, around €19.24 billion has been disbursed in EU agricultural subsidies in Hungary. Agricultural economist György Raskó explained in the video report that around 80% of the profit produced in Hungarian agriculture comes from EU subsidies.

According to the specialist, this means that today, one hectare of arable land produces €412.5-€550 in profit and in the last 15 years, the EU subsidies “made 45-50 thousand Hungarian families rich.” Currently, Hungarian farmers receive €192.5 per hectare in agricultural subsidy.

However, Sándor Léderer of K-Monitor (an independent NGO monitoring public funds) added that 75% of the subsidy money goes to the wealthiest 10% of agricultural producers. On the list of most subsidized entrepreneurs, Sándor Csányi has been in the first place for years.

Mr. Csányi is the CEO of Hungary’s multinational banking corporation OTP and the owner of the Bonafarm group, the largest agricultural conglomerate in Hungary. He is also included in the board of the newly privatized agricultural mega-university of Hungary (we reported on this here). According to the news channel, in 2020, Mr. Csányi’s agricultural companies received around €11 million in subsidies, while an average farmer received around €2.7 thousand.

Liliána Zúgó of the European Commission Representation in Hungary told the reporters that the Commission’s current proposal tries to make the system more just, and would introduce a subsidy capping measure.

A wild boar family in a forest.
Beeld: ©Paul Henri Degrande
As ASF is spreading in the country, authorities have now declared four game management territorial units “infected” in Komárom-Esztergom County in Western Hungary. Nine others in neighboring Győr-Moson-Sopron county have been labeled “high-risk”.

New ASF cases in Hungary

The news portal Agrárszektor reports that in the past weeks, the National Food Chain Safety Office (NÉBIH) identified the presence of African Swine Fever in six wild boar carcasses in Komárom-Esztergom County in Western Hungary. As a consequence, four game management territorial units in the county have been declared “infected” and nine others in Győr-Moson-Sopron county have been labeled “high-risk”.

Record number of illegally kept fighting dogs taken in police raid

In a recent video report, the news portal uncovered the story of how civilians cooperated with the police in uncovering an underground dog fighting ring in the end of 2020. The police has taken into official custody 87 illegally kept dogs who were subject to severe animal cruelty.

Some of the animals were in dire condition – For example, one was in severe need of a blood transfusion, which it received from a police dog shortly after the raid. The authorities were aided by the NGO “sport fans for animals,” an organization in which fans of opposing football teams work together to fight against animal cruelty.

Many of the animals taken from the underground arena were placed in their care. On the topic of hobby animals and the pet trade, Hungary has recently introduced stricter regulations on animal breeding – We have reported on this in our week 5 newsflash here.

The video report on the raid uncovering the illegal dog fighting ring can be seen (in Hungarian language) over here.

Hungarian Panel on Climate Change founded

Modeled after the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a new platform, the Hungarian Panel on Climate Change (HuPCC) has been established, reports the news portal HVG.

The mission of the new platform will be to create periodical reports similar to the reporting activity of the IPCC; to publish special reports on important and current climate change topics; to coordinate with the domestic academic sector and monitor Hungarian scientific works on the subject of climate change. The platform will organize its first, inaugural scientific conference between April 12-15.

Webinar announcement: Smart & Sustainable Mobility in Hungary, March 17

Are you interested in expanding your smart & sustainable mobility business activities in Hungary?

The Smart & Sustainable Mobility webinar will take you on a journey to get acquainted with the Hungarian business environment; provide you with an overview of financial incentives for businesses and research cooperation. It will show you the wide range of possibilities in collaboration in the field of e-mobility, city and international logistics as well as hydrogen propulsion.

The program and registration is available following this link.