Hungary: Economic and climate issues coming to a head

A historically weak harvest of maize, energy subsidies in the processing sector, the extension of the price caps and a livestock genetics investment - Our Friday briefing on Hungarian agriculture

Food products on shelves in a grocery store.
Beeld: ©Flickr
The government has further extended the price caps on basic food items in Hungary.

Hungary will have to import corn this year

In our previous briefing we have reported that, based on harvest projections, Hungary will not have enough maize for export after the harvest this year.

A new report by however, states that the situation is even worse and the country will have to import corn from the international market. Stakeholders from the sector anonimously told the news portal that according to the current projections, the nation’s corn yield this harvest will only cover 60-90% of the domestic demand, and the shortage might be as high as 2 million metric tons.

While Hungary normally produces 6-9 million tons of maize, current estimations for this season’s yield range from 2.8 to 3.6 million tons. The industry professionals whomst Portfolio interviewed expect the imports to come from Ukraine.

The government to subsidize energy in the processing sector

Last weekend, the government has made the decision to subsidize the energy usage of energy-intensive processing industries. According to Minister for Economic Development Márton Nagy, the government will subsidize the energy bills of the last three months of the year with an amount that is equal to 50% of the increase in energy prices compared to the respective period in 2021.

FruitVeB, Hungary’s main industrial alliance of vegetable and fruit producers expressed that they welcome the decision so that the “processing industry, including food production, which forms the backbone of economic employment in Hungary, would be able to survive this period and cope with the increase of energy prices.”

Livestock genetics lab expansion in Kaposvár

The Embryo Transplantation Center, situated at the Kaposvár Campus of the Hungarian University of Life Sciences and Health (MATE) has been expanded with a special animal holding station. According to the university, the development provides a high-security, stress-free, isolated environment for the day-to-day management and preparation for embryo transfer.

The facility is currently mainly used for bovine embryo transplants, but in the future it is planned to be used for the breeding of horses, fallow deer and other small animals, which are also of particular importance for gene conservation. The new holding station currently houses six highly valuable Holstein-Friesian cattle. According to Dr. Zoltán Zomborszky, the head of the facility, the Embryo Transplantation Center conducts a hormone-based program, and the laboratory does the selection and evaluation of embryos which can be transplanted or cryogenically stored for later use.

Price cap on food and gas further extended

The government will extend the price caps on automotive fuel and selected basic food items, and will also extend by at least six months the interest rate freeze which is set to expire on December 31, a state official announced on Saturday.

The new expiration dates of the price caps on basic food items and automotive fuel, and the interest rate freeze, will be December 31, 2022, and June 30, 2023, respectively.

The announcement also indicates that the Hungarian government sees the war and “Brussel’s sanctions” as the reasons of the current historic inflation rate and price increases.