Hungary Newsflash Week 40

Common Agriculture Policy, market news, healthy eating and the Knights of Steak - The week in Hungarian agriculture

Picture of a cob of sweet corn.
©Pixabay
The 15% price increase of corn came as a surprise to many but the versatility of the crop explains its high demand across many industrial sectors.

Joint front on CAP by eleven member states

Agricultural ministers from the Visegrád Four group (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic), together with the ministers from Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Romania signed a joint declaration on the future of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy this week during the international event Polagra Fair in Poznan, Poland. The intergovernmental meeting, which, on the part of Hungary, was attended by State Secretary Zsolt Feldman of the Ministry of Agriculture focused of the planning og the next phase of the CAP.

The declaration expresses the conviction of the eleven signing governments that while the goals laid down by the Green Deal, the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies are necessary, the level of ambition in said strategies needs to be realistic and achievable. The declaration also includes recommendations towards making the CAP more predictable, achievable and more likely to reduce member states’ financial risks. Another goal is the reduction of administrative burden on small scale producers. You can read about it here too.

Price increase of cereals

The price of wheat in Hungary continued its rise throughout September. The price of milling wheat averaged at €153.89 per metric ton in the third week of the month, according to the National Agricultural Research and Innovation Center (NAIK-AKI). The price of animal feed wheat was €150.6. These prices show an increase of 10% and 21%, respectively, compared to September 2019. This trend is not surprising, considering the lower yields of the wheat harvest this year. (We reported on this in our September 18 Newsflash.)

What does come as a surprise is the price increase of corn. At €131 per ton, the price of corn is now 15% higher than in the same period last year. Because of the bountiful harvest, many expected a drop in the price level, especially considering the decrease in demand due to the reduced number of livestock in the domestic animal husbandry sectors. However, maize is a versatile crop. The trend that defied expectations can be explained by increased industrial demand in other sectors, especially the production of biofuel and high-fructose corn syrup which can soak up hundreds of thousands of tons of corn.

Hungarians are starting to eat healthier

According to a recent analysis by Deloitte, due to shifting consumer behavioral trends, Hungarians are eating more of food products perceived as healthy, fresh and more economically friendly. In the past two years, two-thirds of consumers increased their spending on fresh food products.

According to the study, 60% of Hungarian consumers spend one-third of their food budget on fresh food products. Overall, the perceived healthy, green and preservative-free aspects of food products are more and more important to domestic consumers. This is in line with the process of changing attitudes and growing environmental consciousness of consumers – Recently, the National Food Chain Safety Office (NÉBIH) reported that the per capita food waste of Hungarian households decreased by 4%. (More on this in our article over here.)

Picture of people buying fruits and vegetables at a supermarket.
©Pixabay
Hungarian consumer behaviors are shifting and there is an increase emphasis on fresh, healthy and more environmentally friendly products.

Grape harvest season: Good quality, lower yields

The annual grape harvest season, which usually starts with the first varieties in August and can last as long as December, is well underway in all of Hungary’s traditional wine regions. According to the National Wine Communities Association, due to the spring frost period, certain varieties suffered losses up to  15-20%, however, the harvested grapes are generally healthy and are of high quality.

Hungary is expected to produce 3.5-3.6 million units of hundredweight (350-360 thousand tons) of grape of grape and 2.2-2.5 million hectoliters (220-250 million liters) of wine in 2020. The harvest of the major white varieties (e.g. Riesling, Welschriesling, Furmint, Hárslevelű, Muscat Blanc) is well underway or concluded, with losses up to 20%. The harvest of red varieties is also coming to an end, with a few remaining varieties still on the vines (Blaufränkisch, Cabernets).

The Steak Knights of Hungary

Similar to the tradition of “wine brotherhoods” or “wine knightly orders”, informal civil collectives for regional producers of wine, the Hungarian Murray Grey Husbandry Association and the Association for the Husbandry of British Beef announced at their joint open days last weekend the launch of the so-called “Steak Knightly Order” for the popularization of quality beef in Hungarian gastro culture.

Hungarian Murray Grey husbandry started five years ago with five heifers and one hundred embryos. Currently there are 30 to 40 Murray Grey breeding bulls in Hungary and the association believes that this variety is a perfect answer to the changing climate – Considering that they tolerate hot summers and droughts very well. Another breed with quality beef is Angus. The Hungarian Angus cattle husbandry started twenty-five years ago on an educational farm of the University of Kaposvár with the introduction of three breeding cows and four breeding bulls from Canada, as well as frozen embryos. The consumption of Angus beef is not widespread in Hungary however, with 90% of the meat going to processors abroad.

Photo credit:
"Sweet corn" by Couleur via Pixabay
"Supermarket" by  ElasticComputeFarm via Pixabay