Hungary Newsflash Week 16

Pork export agreement with Singapore, aquaculture development, rising meat prices, EU protection for local peach variety and the success of strawberries - The week in Hungarian agriculture

Beeld: ©Filip Filipović
The first strawberries from this year's harvest are already at grocery stores and farmers' markets. In the last 17 years, the size of Hungary's strawberry production area increased by 128 hectares, despite the obstacles of a changing climate and labor shortage that producers have to struggle with every year.

Weekly briefing

  • Meat sector: According to the industrial alliance Poultry Product Council and other industrial stakeholders, due to the effects of the rising price of animal feed, the price of meat can increase by as high as 20-25% in the coming period. The price of chicken breast is expected to increase from €3.04-€4.15 to around €5.53/kg. The price of chicken leg might go from €1.94 to €2.49, the price of pork loin can go from €4.7 to €5.81 and the price of pig hock and totters might go as high as €2.21.
  • Horticulture: On Monday, the European Commission registered the variety Budaörsi őszibarack (Budaörs peaches) as a Protected Geographical Indication. With this, the number of Hungarian geographical indications protected by the EU increased to 67. The Ministry of Agriculture commented that this benefits producers because it significantly increases the added value of the product. Budaörs peaches are characterized as having “an intense aroma, a juicy fruit with reddish top color, fluffy skin, not too hard juicyflash.” The quality is also due to the elaborate cultivation culture and considerable expertise on the part of local growers. For more on Hungarian horticulture, see our sectoral analysis here.
    The text of the registration application can be found here.
  • Pig sector: After one year of negotiations between the two countries, Singapore has adopted new and more favorable conditions for the export of Hungarian pork to the country. State Secretary in charge of food chain safety supervision Norbert Erdős of the Ministry of Agriculture has highlighted that according to the new export regulations, Hungarian exporters will not have to meet any extra standards aside from abiding by the EU and Hungarian regulations. Previous conditions including additional examination and blood sample testing have been abolished. The State Secretary has commented that this success might provide a boost for Hungary’s pork export to the South-Eastern Asia region. For more on the Hungarian pig sector, see our analysis here.
  • Aquaculture: The company Öko Fish Kft. is now planning to establish a large fish farm in Tarcal, Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County in Eastern Hungary, reports the portal Világgazdaság. The aquaculture facility will consist of a fish farm for catfish and a fish meat processing plant. According to the plans, the establishment will have a fish meat production output capacity of 2 metric tons per day and 400 tons per year, employing 25 people, with the plant having a processing capacity of up to 800 tons per year, which means that it will also probably process fish meat from other fish farms as well. For more on Hungarian aquaculture, see our article here.
Hail in the grass after a hailstorm.
Beeld: ©Etienne Marais
Hailstorms can cause millions of euros' worth of damages every year. The new hail prevention system has decreased the size of hale-affected fruit production areas from 72 thousand hectares to 22 thousand hectares after its launch.

The success of strawberries

Woodland strawberry is the only domestic fruit in Hungarian horticulture the production area of which has increased in the last twenty years. While in 2004, strawberries were produced over an area of 600 hectares, by 2019, this figure increased by another 128 hectares. However, producers are facing various challenges. In order to cover the costs of manual labor alone, the price of strawberry has to reach at least €1.66 per kilogram, and cheaper import produce can drive prices down. Another obstacle in the path of growth is the lack of seasonal workers and the steep increase of input costs due to the weakening of the Hungarian Forint compared to the euro. Also, due to the changing climate, fewer and fewer farmers are risking the open-field method of the cultivation of strawberry.

The first wave from this year’s Hungarian greenhouse strawberry harvest has already hit the market in the weekend, at a price of €6.92-€8.31 and experts think that not even at the peak of the season will strawberry prices dip under €2.77/kg.

Hail damage prevention system activated

The national hail damage prevention system, which was launched in 2018, has been activated for the season earlier in April. The system disperses silver iodide into the atmosphere from 986 incineration sites throughout the country. The operational period of the system will end on September 30. It has been in operation since 2018 and is estimated to mitigate millions of euros’ worth of frost damages annually. While in 2017, 72 thousand hectares of fruit plantations and orchards were affected by hail damages, in 2018, after the launch of the new system, this figure was reduced to 22 thousand hectares.