Hungary Newsflash Week 49

Improving retail commerce figures, new Avian influenza cases, food processing industry subsidy plans, shifting consumer preferences, and the signing of a new research cooperation agreement with the Philippines - The week in Hungarian agriculture

The LAN Budapest-Belgrade team presents:

Farminar 3 - Organic Waste Utilization: From Trash to Treasure

Re-using organic waste and sidestreams is paramount to combatting climate change but it can also generate extra profit for the primary and secondary sectors. The Farminar 3 webinar will provide an overview of organic waste streams in Hungary, review the theoretic and practical approaches to the utilization of organic waste and provide a platform to exchange best practices in the field of circular organic waste re-usal.

Date, location: December 14, 14:00-15:15 CET (UTC+1), online (via Zoom)
How to register: Send an email with your name, organization and email address to
Agricultural lands in Hungary
Farmland near Tagyon, Hungary. Rural development will be in the focus in the financial period between 2021 and 2027, with , €11.5 billion in EU subsidies and national co-financing is earmarked for agricultural and rural development in Hungary.

Retail commerce off to a strong start in Q4

Analysts are reporting that retail commerce in Hungary is showing promising signs of growth in the beginning of the last quarter of 2021.

According to the newest data by the Central Statistical Office (KSH), in October, retail commerce has grown in volume by 5.7% m-o-m. Experts in the banking industry are concluding that consumption levels are now rising after a long trough in which the lowest point was April 2020. Since then, commerce has grown in volume by 17.4% .

In Q4, Christmas bonuses and expected January pay raises are probably contributing to the bump in retail commerce. The experts are now projecting an aggregate 3.4% figure for the increase of commerce in 2021 in Hungary.

Avian influenza remains a threat, new cases identified

We have recently reported in our Week 47 Newsflash that Avian influenza has reappeared in Hungary’s poultry livestock. Now it seems that the disease is appearing at new locations in the country.

Agricultural news portals have reported this week that in the end of November, the National Food Chain Safety Office (NÉBIH) has identified the presence of highly pathogenic Avian influenza (H5N1 strain) at a turkey farm in Kondoros, Békés county, in South-Eastern Hungary. Workers at the farm notified the authorities after having noticed an increased mortality in the livestock population.

On December 1, NÉBIH has also identified the presence of the disease in the carcass of a dead swan found at Lake Vekeri in Debrecen, Hajdú-Bihar County, in Eastern Hungary. The food chain authority has taken adequate measures and has called  attention to the strict regulations that are currently in place with the purpose of stopping the disease and preventing future outbreaks.

Governmental plans for food industry developments

At the end-of-year conference of FruitVeB, Hungary’s leading horticultural fruit and vegetable growers’ alliance, State Secretary Zsolt Feldman of the Ministry of Agriculture talked about the Ministry’s development plans for the domestic food sectors.

The State Secretary has highlighted that energy and raw material costs are rapidly increasing, and the sector has to integrate these cost increases into the prices of produce and food products.

Mr. Feldman announced that calls for machinery grant applications will be rolling out in December and that applications for grants in a value of €1.05 billion have already been submitted to the Ministry.

 State Secretary Feldman also added that within the new CAP framework, the coupled support system will remain in its current form, however, the subsidy levels for industrial vegetable production will substantially increase. .

In the case of the processing industry, the evaluation of subsidy applications will include a strong emphasis on applicants’ relationships with suppliers.

In the period until 2027, €11.5 billion in EU subsidies and national co-financing is earmarked for agricultural and rural development, which also includes the food processing industry.

Close-up of a chicken that looks very serious.
Beeld: ©Max Kleinen
As new Avian influenza cases are being discovered monthly, the National Food Chain Safety Office has called farmers' attention to the stricter regulations that are in currently in place for poultry farming. The latest cases have been found in Eastern Hungary.

Hungarian preferences around the holidays: Artificial Christmas tree, real meat, less waste

A recent survey about consumers’ Christmas preparation habits commissioned by IKEA has found that 45.8% of Hungarians prefer artificial Christmas trees, 36% buy cut trees and 8.8% buy potted trees that can be re-planted.

The survey also found that 27% of the responders do not cook meat-free Christmas meals, 51% sometimes prepares meat-free dishes but it is not the main focus of the Christmas dinner. 8.1% cooks meat-free options if they have vegetarian or vegan guests. The age group 18-26 was more open to meat-free Christmas dinner options. .

Interestingly, the survey found that Hungarians do not generally increase their food waste around Christmas. 41.7% stores uneaten leftovers in the freezer, 36% optimizes Christmas cooking so that no leftover will remain.

On the gift wrapping scene, 66% uses single-use wrapping that is often just discarded immediately after opening presents, however, 44.6% chooses to pick gift bags or boxes that can later be re-used. Moreover, one out of ten people are consciously looking gift wraps made out of re-cycled materials, 13% does not wrap presents at all.

Research cooperation in the Philippines

The Hungarian University of Life Sciences and Health (MATE) has signed a research cooperation agreement with the crop cultivation authority of the Philippines.

MATE has agreed to donate the planting seeds of various Hungarian-bred vegetable varieties and the university will also set up a sample farm in the Metro Manila Paranaque district in order to aid in researching new ways to strengthen the local food chain stability that had been tested during the pandemic crisis.

“It is a huge success for our university and for Hungarian agriculture that a traditionally strong rice producing country like the Philippines has started testing the rice varieties developed by MATE in the local tropical environment,” the rector of MATE, Professor Csaba Gyuricza has commented after the official signing ceremony in Manila.

MATE has also made an agreement with the Hineleban Foundation, their research cooperation will focus on coffee cultivation and the mechanization of harvesting in tea plantations.

The university has also laid down joint goals with the Philippine Los Banos University and Visayas University for the creation of joint education programs and the exchange of delegations and students.