Hungary: Minister announces €7.5-billion-worth agri machinery subsidies at AGROmashEXPO

Hungary to follow Italy in cultured meat ban and strengthen trade relations with China; new report shows climate adaptation would be profitable; egg industry slowly recovering after hard years; Avian influenza continues to plague poultry sector - Our weekly briefing on agriculture, food and nature news in Hungary

Tractors, harvesters, and other agricultural machines can been in an exhibition hall
Beeld: ©Zoltán Szászi

Agriculture minister promises €7.5 billion in subsidies for machinery until 2027

This year the AGROmashEXPO takes place between January 24-26 in Budapest, Hungary. The exhibition is the largest annual agriculture expo and machine show in Hungary. This year the exhibition spans 37 thousand square meters, in over 8 exhibition halls at Hungexpo Budapest.  At the opening of the fair, Minister for Agriculture István Nagy has stated in his speech that the key to competitiveness is adaptation. In order to meet the challenges, modern equipment is necessary, said the minister. Mr. Nagy has stated that €7.5 billion will be available for subsidies for machinery and agricultural equipment until 2027.

Hungary to follow Italy’s example in banning cultured meat

"Similarly to Italy, the Ministry of Agriculture is considering banning cultured meat," Agriculture Minister István Nagy has posted on Facebook late Thursday afternoon. Mr. Nagy has met Ettore Prandini, leader of the Italian agriculture alliance Coldiretti, and the two discussed Italy's banning of cultured (lab-grown) meat. According to the Minister, Italy has set a good example, and the issue will be placed on the agenda of Hungary's upcoming Council presidency. Mr. Nagy also highlighted the importance of preserving traditional rural values. "Our country relies on Italian investors," the Minister commented, "and their technological know-how in implementation," adding, "it is our duty to protect Hungarian farmers' interests." 

Hungary improves agriculture trade relations with China

Agriculture Minister István Nagy received China’s Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Ma Youxiang on Wednesday, stating that the country is committed to the improvement and strengthening of the agriculture and commercial cooperation between Hungary and China. A crucial milestone would be if China were to accept regionalization for both avian influenza and African swine fever, Mr. Nagy also said.

The minister highlighted that this year is the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, which creates a wonderful opportunity for the review and improvement of bilateral economic and commercial ties. The countries can also further deepen their cooperation with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the minister said, adding that China is a key partner for Hungary. The minister said that although Hungary’s products cannot compete with the Chinese market in terms of quantity, quality products can hold their own.

Minister Nagy added that the two countries could improve their cooperation in science, education and technology. Ma Youxiang also invited Mr. Nagy to two international conferences that China will host, the ministry’s press release added.

New report says climate adaptation would be profitable for Hungary

The Hungarian Nature Conservation Alliance cooperated in a large-scale study on the balance of the Paris Climate Agreement, reports According to the study, in order to stay within the 1.5-degree Celsius threshold of global average temperature rise, the timely introduction of climate protection measures by 2030 would represent significant revenue both at the EU and the national level.

Based on the study’s models, the transformation of the fossil-based energy infrastructure into an energy-efficient, renewable energy-based, climate-neutral system in Hungary would bring more than €13.7 billion in additional benefits, nearly four times more than the cost of the Government's climate plan until 2030.

The report states that Hungary can save 8.8% of its GDP by 2030 and create more than 50,000 new, sustainable jobs if it increases its climate protection ambitions promptly and accelerates the energy transition and decarbonization to achieve the set 1.5°C goal.

Egg industry finally caught a break in 2023

Agrá reports that lower feed and energy prices led to a better year for the Hungarian egg industry. However, there still are issues. Despite a decrease in the most significant cost elements, there is a growing demand for substantial wage increases in the sector. Investment costs have significantly risen, and egg producers are particularly affected by the EPR fee. The veterinary disaster preparedness in anticipation of Avian influenza outbreaks also adds a layer of complication. Although Avian influenza has not affected laying hens too severely so far, animal protection measures add significant costs to businesses.

It is a fact, however, that many players have chosen a stocking strategy that, unfortunately, relies on the expensive 2022 grain and feed ingredients. This was stated to the portal by Gergely Pákozd, vice president of the laying hen hybrid husbandry and egg producer alliance.  The import from Ukraine also increased considerably, and prices in Poland are also lower, says Mr. Pákozd, which means that imports in Hungary have increased considerably.

Avian influenza continues to be an issue

Agrá also reports that so far 1.5 million animals had to be culled since the reappearance of highly pathogenic Avian influenza in Hungary in November, 2023. The presence of the disease has been identified at more than 75 poultry farms, the National Food Chain Safety Office (NÉBIH) informed the portal.

The office also told Agrá that the disease is currently not spreading as fast as during previous outbreaks. Sporadic cases have been reported in multiple counties, which are probably connected to the migration patterns of wild birds, especially cranes, which recently died in the tens of thousands in Hungary due to the disease. On the topic of vaccinations, NÉBIH has told the news portal that although there is a working group investigating the possibilities of vaccination in Hungary, so far the vaccination of poultry livestock is not allowed in the country.