Hungary Newsflash Week 44

CAP National strategic plan updates, Farm to Fork debates, wine production issues and 3D printable plant-based plastic research - The week in Hungarian agriculture

A vineyard in Hungary
Beeld: ©Zoltán Szászi
According to Hungarian wine producers, retailers are raising the price of wine for producers while pushing down producer prices, while production costs have increased by 15-20% in the last years.

Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture opposes the Farm to Fork strategy

In a recent statement, the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture (NAK) voiced its strong opposition to the European Commission’s Farm to Fork strategy. NAK cites a recent study by the Wageningen University (WUR) on the potential effects of the proposed policy plan. The Chamber also adds that the F2F would “limit production, ruin many farmers, but ultimately would not decrease greenhouse gas emissions” which is why NAK continues to express concerns over the strategy.

In the past, NAK already voiced their concerns over the fact that the strategy has not been accompanied  by an impact assessment and that they found it unacceptable without further studies. They further added that meanwhile, due to free trade, third country products which are currently being imported into the common market do not even comply with current regulations, thereby gaining a competitive advantage over Hungarian and other EU producers.

Ministry of Agriculture continues work on the CAP national strategic plan

State Secretary Zsolt Feldman of the Ministry of Agriculture has announced that the Ministry is now in the final stages of finishing the strategic planning for the 2021-2027 CAP cycle, and will present the draft Hungarian national strategic plan to the government in the end of November – And that they expect the plan to be presented in its final form to the European Committee in December.

State Secretary Feldman also voiced his concern over ongoing developments in Brussels where the  CAP implementing and delegated legislation is being prepared. He complained that Members States, including Hungary, now only have the opportunity to send in written opinions on specific topics.” The most important of these topics are the target figures for the reduction of the use of PPP and fertilizersand the area under organic production.. The State Secretary added that sectoral situational assessments, intervention models, SWOT analyses have been used extensively in laying down the national strategic plan’s indicators for goals, output levels and finances, and that the Ministry is still in talks with domestic alliances as well as stakeholders in Brussels.

Stacks of hay in a field.
Beeld: ©Mihály Köles
With Dr. László Lendvai's research, agricultural byproducts in Hungary - like wheat hay, but also barly, rapeseed hay and wood - could be turned into organic-based 3D printable plastic.

Hungarian research project on plant-based plastics

Dr. László Lendvai, a researcher at the Széchenyi István University in Győr, has been awarded the Bolyai János Research Grant this year for the practical applications of organically based plastic components,.

The Bolyai János grant program was started in 1988 and serves the purpose of funding the research of young scientists under the age of 45.

Dr. Lendvai works at the Material Science and Technology department of the Széchenyi István University. His work is based on material science solutions that are already used in the automotive industry, in which petroleum derivatives are partially or fully replaced in the manufacturing of plastics. These new plastics have a smaller ecological footprint while they are also more rigid and more durable than the traditional petroleum-based components that they replace.

The new research is also based on the circular economy model. “I study the possible outcomes of using agricultural and forestry byproducts in plastic manufacture, including wheat, barley and rapeseed hay and timber,” Dr. Lendvai explained in a recent interview.

Dr. Lendvai also added that his current project which was awarded the Bolyai János grant, focuses on using the ground dust from these organic byproducts to create plastics that are suitable for 3D printing.

Hungarian wine producers: We can’t take another year like this

The Hungarian viticulture alliance, Wine Communities Council (HNT), has announced recently that the country’s wine producers won’t be able to stay afloat if wholesale prices continue to remain at the current levels for another year. According to HNT, the sector would need a wholesale price increase of at least 15-20% otherwise domestic producers will be forced to shut down.

Ottó Légli, the president of HNT has stated that an “unhealthy market situation” has been dominating the sector for years in which wholesale traders have been increasing consumer prices but continued to pay the same prices to producers, despite the gradual cost increases of wine production – Thus increasing their profits to the detriment of both the producers and the consumers. Mr. Légli also added that the COVID-19 pandemic only worsened the situation.

According to Mr. Légli, retail chains are forcing ever lower producer prices in their acquisition tenders, to levels below production costs, and the 15-20% cost increases producers saw in the current period must be built into the wholesale prices.