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Schriftenreihe des Europa Institutes Budapest, Band 25:67–82.


Situation and perspectives of the Hungarian agriculture in the European Union


The starting point

Hungarian agriculture still struggles with the difficulties of transformation and this struggle will probably only end a few years after the EU accession. The reshaping of ownership and the privatisation phase regulated and “dictated” by laws has been completed and private property is prevailing today. 94-95% of agricultural territories and 41% of forestland is private property. The secondary transformation of ownership has just started. We expect not only the strengthening of the ’normal concentration’ process from this but the correction of the serious mistakes deriving from the ill-advised compensation laws and the ideology-driven transformation of agricultural plant units. In addition, it is distorted again, since the law excludes legal personalities from acquiring property.

The difficulties of transformation have merged with the enhanced worldwide rivalry of agricultural products, the increasing competition and intensified protectionalism of the past years. In this struggle it is more and more difficult for the Hungarian agriculture to hold on as it has to face serious competitiveness problems. Due to the low producer incomes the technical equipment of agricultural enterprises units has deteriorated, and the differences between producers have grown to an unhealthy extent (this applies to equipment and incomes, as well). Though the level of state subsidies is significantly lower, about one third of the EU average, this budget expenditure adds up to a serious amount. Above all this their allocation, is mostly not carried out with respect to economic aims, supporting competitiveness and effectiveness, but on the basis of social considerations (by introducing measures aiming to improve the disadvantageous situation of the countryside) and in order to ease the agricultural damage, mostly afterwards.

Moreover, the influence of party politics has become stronger in recent years, so the utilisation of subsidies is inadequate, as well. The agricultural policy of the past years was characterised by the increased preference of smaller producing units and a negative discrimination of large-scale agricultural enterprises. The landsize-based subsidising of smaller farms was above the average while farmers with a land larger than 300ha were entirely excluded from these subsidies. On our way to the EU – and knowing the consequences of the accession on the Hungarian producers this is not just a mistake but a true sin. Many smallholders have to face the fact that though “small is beautiful”, it is uncompetitive and that all the demagogue promises were merely boasting and irresponsible deception.

Hungarian agricultural production is characterised by a gradual loss of ground within the national economy. This partly coincides with the world tendencies since the share of agriculture decreases all over the world as far as its contribution to the GDP, the labour market and foreign trade is concerned. However, the Hungarian situation is unique in the sense that the absolute values of agricultural performance are also decreasing. (Fig. 1 and 2) Since the political transition Hungary’s share in the world’s agricultural production subsided to the half. Neither our economic nor our natural conditions justify such an enormous loss.


The system of agricultural enterprises and conditions of land utilization

The EU’s agriculture, which is governed by a conscious tradition-bound agricultural strategy supported by significant financial means, proceeds fast and irreversibly (often deviating from its proclaimed principles) on the path of modernisation and, consequently, that of concentration. The traditional family farm model is about to break up or is at least in transformation. The majority of full-time family farms are not smallholders any more but rather enterprises of considerable financial means with a size above that of several Hungarian large-scale farms. Is the direction of the Hungarian agriculture’s development right? Did we have a realistic image of the future a few years before the planned EU accession taking the current EU processes into account? Unfortunately, the answer for these questions is a definite no.

Through the social-economic changes that took place at the beginning of the 90ies and the enforcement of the consequent legal regulations, the agricultural enterprise-corporation structure of went through a fundamental transformation. This, however, had certain antecedents, since in Hungary (in opposition to other then socialist countries) it was not only the legal system that was ready for the political transition but the agriculture, as well, where the ownership and management structure was already in transformation. Therefore, it is regrettable that the political forces at power from 1990 did not continue this reform process. The years-long stagnation, the compensation process that failed to take economic factors into consideration, and an agricultural policy against large-scale farming all together resulted in the disappearance of the Hungarian agriculture’s advantage.

At the end of 2001 there were about 38 000 economic organisations (corporate and private enterprises) in the Hungarian agriculture, forestry and fishery. The number of earlier predominant agricultural co-operatives decreased radically by the turn of the millennium due to economic bankruptcy, the will of the members or their ‘flee’ into other organisational forms (e.g. joint stock companies) in order to avoid discrimination. Small-scale enterprises are predominant today among agricultural organisations functioning as legal entities. Three-quarter of them employ less than 9 people and the rate of those employing more than 50 people is only 8%.

We can briefly summarise the changes in the proportion of different users of the country’s whole territory and arable land1 as follows:

– The number of legal corporate bodies has multiplied and the size of cultivated agricultural and forest land increased by about 20%. The average land-size of companies, however, decreased from 16 000 ha to 600 ha.

– The number of agricultural co-operatives also decreased from 1400 to 900, but instead of the earlier 60% only 10% of the country’s territory is under cultivation today (on average 900 ha instead of 3700 ha).

– The number of individual farms, which are interpreted in a peculiar way in Hungarian statistics2, decreased heavily from 1.4 million to 960 000 between 1989 and 2000, but the size of land under farming is now four times larger than earlier, and comes to 50% of the country’s cultivated land. In addition, their territory increased from 1 ha to 4 ha on average.

If we define the lower limit of agricultural enterprises in 1 ha agricultural land or 0.3 ha plantation following others’ example, we can have two important groups of individual producers. 690 000 farmers belong to the group under 1 ha with an average of 0.4 ha, while the number of those over 1 ha decreased to 270 000 with an average territory of 14 ha.

In fact, these data have to be treated cautiously. Agricultural organisations and co-operatives have been forming further companies, so their number can be multiplied. In the case of “individual farms”, the taxation and subsidising system of the past few years that favoured small enterprises, encouraged farmers to conceal parts of the actual production figures, and to create units that existed only on paper. Producers “divided” larger farms receiving lower subsidies into smaller units. In line with this, the farming system in Hungary is not as scattered as one would think on the basis of the given data, but there are many unreasonably small production units that are not viable. These shouldn’t even be called agricultural “enterprises”. The so-called bipolar order of the agricultural enterprises system lessened significantly in the past decades. Thus, while there used to be many small farms and few larger ones, and little land belonged to the small farms and much to the larger ones, today the middle layer became more significant. This applies rather for the distribution of land than the number of production units.3

The size of the numerous smaller farms did not change fundamentally due to the legal and economic conditions that had led to the scattering of larger agricultural companies in the 1990ies. Self-supplying smaller farms have always played an important role in the history of Hungary, both beside feudal estates and as household farming plots of members of agricultural co-operatives but never with the intention of making an own living. After the political transition4, however, several individual farms were established with the intention of providing a living for families, though their size and lacking equipment was insufficient to achieve this goal.5

It is clear from the analysis of data that the majority of agricultural producers pursues self-supplying cultivation. Half of these farms produces less than 200 000 HUF (800 euro) in a year. If we take only 25% of this as an income, in a year we get the monthly amount of the Hungarian minimum wage. If we draw the limit at the more rigorous production value of 500000 HUF (2000 euro) in a year, 80% of producers will fall into this group and their income production is not more than 10000 HUF (40 euro) a month. Thus, this production adds up to only a minor proportion of the family’s food consumption and leaves no resources for development, or the purchase of equipment, i.e. an agricultural enterprises-like operation.

This should be paid special attention to with respect to the European Commission’s recommendation, according to which the so-called semi self-supplying farms should get special subsidies so that they can be viable. I assume that the social benefit of 750 euro that later increased to 1000 euro can help many people, but it is incapable of enhancing a competitive operation and achieving agricultural enterprise size.


Human and technical resources

The “liberalisation” of agricultural workforce started later in Hungary than in other European countries, where this process took place earlier, but went off in powerful, almost explosion-like phases. The occupational proportion of agriculture, which was 52% in the 1950ies, subsided to 30-35% at the time of complete collectivisation (1960) and steadily decreased till the political transition to about 12%. At this time, however, larger farming enterprises were characterised by the ‘multifunctionality’ that was recently discovered in the EU, and only 5-6% of the workforce was occupied in so-called side-branches (industry, trade and services). During the transformation period these occupational areas got out of agricultural organisations, moreover, they mostly disappeared completely and contributed immensely to unemployment in villages.

Recently (2003), 6.2% of full-time employees works in agriculture. The decrease of their number is still going on, though somewhat slower than before. Territorial differences are significant: the proportion of workforce occupied in agriculture is: under 2% in the Central-Hungarian region, around 10% in the southern part of Transdanubia, but almost 15% in the Southern Plain. This is, however, not because of the local prosperity perspectives of agriculture, but due to the lack of alternative occupational opportunities.6 It is worth mentioning that the agricultural land-size per full-time employees is 15% above the EU average, which indicates that the fears of migration are not justified.

For decades Hungarian agriculture was characterised by the high proportion of unskilled or trained workers and highly qualified skilled workforce, as well. After the political transition the majority of skilled workforce left the agricultural sphere, while many of the unskilled workers lost their jobs. Their occupational problems are the most difficult to solve and they are the least likely to get qualification for a new profession. 8% of people occupied in agriculture has a college degree and 58% has a secondary school degree.

Technical development, primarily mechanisation, stood in the focus of the Hungarian agriculture’s “European closing-up process” that started in the second half of the 1960ies. However, the disastrous recession originating in the stagnation of the mid-1980ies and other outer and inner reasons concomitant with the political change, led to the result that the performance of agriculture and the conditions of its technical fundaments are far below the level that would be reasonable on the basis of its economic and ecologic potentials. As far as the renewed closing-up is concerned, the market position and revenue conditions of agriculture are less advantageous now than in the 1980ies, which also applies for the company framework that should incorporate and handle development.

Such differences are to be observed in the machinery and the utilisation of machines that vary from the “Asian level” to the most up-to-date equipment standards of the agricultural enterprises of the most developed countries’, determining quality and all other competitiveness parameters. Today, the age of machines used in agriculture is twice as much as the normal lifespan: 29 years on average for engines, for example. The machinery has been gradually growing older and older for decades, and this tendency only stopped in 2002 and 2003 with the equipment modernisation trends based on state subsidies and the Sapard program.

As the producers reduced the most easily saveable expenditures first, the use of fertilisers subsided quickly due to the uncertainties of the financially troublesome, long transition period. It has already decreased by more than 50% from 1980 to 1990 and again by 50%. The total amount of utilisation measured in agents increased to 50-60kg/ha, which indicates that this undesirable “saving” tendency will continue. The use of organic dung dropped due to the reduced number of livestock, and the specific indicators of the nutrient-supply outline a very disadvantageous situation.7 Therefore, the outputs of cultivation are even more exposed to the radical weather conditions of the past years, and decreased to a level experienced 25-35 years ago. Since there was less and less land under cultivation with irrigation plants and irrigating devices due to the compensation and the transformation of many large-scale agricultural enterprises, the more and more necessary artificial precipitation substitution lessened to one half of its previous level in 10 years. Thus, the chances of drought damage increased heavily.8 Dispersion and fluctuation indicators of average crops increased by 20-50% in wheat production and multiplied at maize. This is one of the main reasons of the intensifying problems at producer markets. This means that there aren’t any short-term chances for the fast recovery of production. Our task is, therefore, to modernize the technical background and consolidate the economy in the coming years.

After all this it might seem surprising that in the 1990ies the agricultural export exceeds the import in spite of the drastic decline of production and the strengthening of the competition on the world market9, which makes Hungary unique among post socialist countries. The fact that we have lost the main market of mass products, the Soviet Union and its newly independent successor states, increases the value of the achieved result, especially since this loss is still prevailing. Another positive aspect is that we could accomplish a successful market change at a number of products and could adapt to the altered quality needs (e.g. 40% of pork export went to the Japanese and Korean market in 2002).

The first among negative aspects is the decrease of consumption in the domestic market. Secondly, we have to mention the considerable instability of export. Neither the quantity of the export of certain products, nor the target countries are stabile, which comprises uncertainty and defencelessness.

As far as Hungarian agricultural markets are concerned, Europe’s dominance (around 90%) remained in the 1990ies and the 15 EU Member States bought 50% of the Hungarian export in 2001-2002, similarly to 1991-1992. The EU’s proportion in the import increased from 40% to 47%, in which the 1991 Association Agreement played an important role. Our most important export goods are meats, fresh and processed vegetables and fruits, and wheat (depending on the actual crop).


Delicate points of the accession negotiations

Agriculture has a rather small proportion in the production of the Hungarian national income. Its social significance, however, is indisputable, similarly to its gradually decreasing importance in the revenues of people living in the countryside (as an additional source of living). We mustn’t forget that for many people this is the only chance, the “last straw” that keeps them within society. These people do not produce much income but at least do something useful.

Exaggerating the significance of the agricultural issue is, in fact, against the interests of agriculture. It accelerates unnecessary fears in the EU’s peasantry and in Hungary, as well. This can be clearly seen on the mutual fears reflected in the results of public opinion polls. The precautions that are being taken now, at the beginning of 2004 by the EU against the “cheap inflowing workforce” aim to conceal inner problems, have a negative effect on the public feelings, and cannot be called correct and ensuring measures. In Hungary the same political opposition accuses the government with absurd assertions that carried out negotiations with the EU from 1998 to 2002 and came to an agreement in most issues (among others the questions concerning migration). The population is more and more startled to hear that we are going to be excluded from EU subsidies, we are meant to be the poor relatives from the East, who are condemned to play second fiddle. The standpoint of Hungarian governments has been clear and unambiguous for years: by accepting obligations we regard our share of rights evident and demand equality.

The basic attitude of the EU at the negotiations was to extend the intervention and quota-based Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on acceding countries, except for one of its key elements, the direct income subsidies. Instead of the earlier rigid and refusing standpoint, the emphasis slowly shifted to compromises and gave ground to the bargaining process. Instead of refusing direct subsidies the representatives of the EU recommended the reduction of the EU expenditures deriving from the extension of the system on new Member States. However, as far as the related basic figures (reference output and quotas) are concerned, the EU refused to take the earlier state of the Hungarian agriculture as a starting point instead of the present “abnormal” situation that emerged after the political change through the previously outlined tragic decline. The ground of the reasoning was the “plan-based economy”, which was rather pharisaic, since the CAP involves more elements of this system today than the agricultural policy of Hungary in the 1980ies.


The agreements

In the evening of 13th December 2002 the Hungarian government closed (as last among candidate countries) the bargaining process of the accession negotiations10, the debate about agricultural issues came to an end. We achieved what could be achieved on the basis of the EU’s offer (with a few alterations) and, as all other acceding countries, we had the accession itself in sight and not the tight-fisted subsidies. We understood that the EU Member States do not wish to spend more on the enlargement. This historic moment was somewhat deprived of its glory and euphoria through these niggard financial bargains, but everybody was relieved. The EU was not forced to raise the amount of direct subsidies from 25% (which would have been 0% according to the original plans). The acceding countries got permission to supplement the subsidies for producers with 30% from national resources. Hopefully, this saved Hungarian agriculture from the disastrous competition detriments and the EU from a spectacular failure at the agricultural markets of new Member States, which was a potential concomitant of the accession.

On the basis of the EU’s decision, the newly acceding countries, like Hungary have lost their chance on their accession negotiations to achieve agreements based on their actual individual performance and the success of their adjustment. The EU returned to the old block-attitude, which is rather disadvantageous for the more prepared candidates and helps the underdeveloped countries. Solidarity, though it was very often mentioned, only partly applied for the acceding countries. From the EU’s side the lack of will was to be observed for the equal treatment of newcomers, but we have to admit that, in opposition to earlier enlargements, it was accompanied by the lack of financial resources. The acceding countries had no other choice but to strive for the best possible positions throughout the discussions and then accept the offers.

The national interests of candidate countries are rather different from each other and from the old Member States, as well. The agricultural values of Hungary, for example, show many differences at the point of the decision about direct subsidies. Due to our specific agricultural structure this is the most important subsidising form for Hungary. We must make it clear that the critical remarks, according to which the Hungarian negotiators only concentrated on gaining direct subsidies and thus, lost other possible advantages (e.g. for rural development etc.), are not true. The EU’s delegation worked with consistent guidelines and the same statistic method to calculate the basic figures, and applied basically the same principles at the quota system for the 10 acceding countries. The delegation of the Hungarian government may also take it as a compliment that they achieved much more advantageous accession conditions than the ones formulated in the EU’s offer in January 2002. It is, however, certain that the EU left no opportunities for “individual fights“ and the conditions of the accession are the same for all acceding countries with the only difference that the resources of rural development are defined in inverse proportion to the countries’ development level.

Thus, the final conditions of the accession are much more advantageous for the Hungarian agriculture than remaining outside the Union or a later (uncertain) accession would have been. The lines on the present condition of the Hungarian agriculture may also illustrate how random and irresponsible the slogan „There is life outside the EU” was – especially at the time of negotiations. If we take the most important decisions into account, we could briefly formulate the following statements:

– 1. A very important element of the agricultural policy of the EU, the protection of the market and the internal market regulations, including interventions and related prices apply for each acceding country in equal measures to the old Member States.

– 2. Quotas are the most market-distant elements of the EU’s agricultural regulations and recall the planned economy. Quota-related debates were easy to solve in cultivation, since the use of land has not changed much in the past 10 or 20 years. The situation is completely different in the quota-related branches of livestock breeding, since a radical reduction has taken place in stock, milk and meat production in Hungary since 1990. As the EU was not willing to accept the more favourable agricultural situation of the 1980ies as a starting point in either of the acceding countries, we had to put up with a milk quota that foreshadows limited possibilities for the future11 and with a limited cattle and sheep stock that indicates low increase in resources. The only one to blame for this could be the governments of the past 12 years that were unable to take the future-determining negative effects of the production reduction into account, and did not spend their resources on the right aims.

– 3. Taking the year 2001 additionally into account, we could correct the Hungarian reference level that is closely connected to the quota of land-based direct subsidies to 4,73t/ha, which can be considered advantageous. Debates on quotas and reference levels were characterised by obscurity and ambiguity from the beginning of negotiations. All official statements of the EU proclaimed that new members are not automatically entitled to it. Still, they accepted, in fact they demanded the accession documents, in which we formulated these needs and lead negotiations about clearing technical issues! The EU suggested only in the last phase of negotiations that after the first year’s reduced 25%, new Member States should get the gradually increasing amount of direct subsidies within 10 years. Moreover, the EU agreed to allocate an additional 30% from national resources to this 25% in the last moment.12 This practice indicates that the transition period, i.e. the achievement of the total amount is reduced to 6 years from 10 years and Hungarian farmers can have 55% of the subsidies of their EU fellow-farmers already in the first year. The producers of new Member States certainly need this, since it is not only their income but also their expenditure that increases.

– 4. The subsidies of livestock breeding, supporting only cattle and sheep breeding directly, are different as far as their form is concerned but their effects are similar.13 A content-related difference is that the amount of allocated direct subsidies is not comprised of land and reference productivity but on the basis of the stock number .

It is worth to make the extension to what we have said so far about direct subsidies that they constitute the “the largest bit” (73%) of the 400 billion HUF that can be achieved in 10 years. This source, however, can only be exploited if, for example, the livestock reaches the upper limits of the determined quotas. In addition, EU sources for market support run to 11%, and 16% for modernisation as part of rural development, which means an agricultural subsidy of 105-110 billion HUF.


How did Hungary come off?

It is worth to devote some time to the facts and the potential economic and agricultural consequences, as well, not only because there have been sharp and unsubstantiated critical remarks, especially at the turn of 2002 and 2003, about the end results of the Hungarian negotiations, according to which “we came off worse than the Polish” or “we got much less than the old Member States”14, but primarily for being able to judge our future more objectively.

Firstly, we have to mention that the negotiations were based on the Hungarian recommendations submitted in the previous government period and even the person of the main negotiator remained the same. Secondly, we should point out that the EU’s system of agricultural subsidy standards, e.g. the crucial decision on the 25% base of direct subsidies, applies equally for all acceding countries. Thirdly, old and new Member States are paid equally on the basis of the reference output (e.g. 63 euro/t at GOF plants).

Agricultural subsidies are settled on the basis of the production’s volume and its earlier achieved level and not with respect to the country’s population or the number of people working in agriculture. The notion, according to which we receive much less than Poland, for example, proves either the lack of proper knowledge on the situation, or the intention of deception. Very eloquent are the figures comparing the level of agricultural subsidies of the four most significant acceding countries (Fig. 3.) It is clear from these figures that Hungary does not receive fewer subsidies than other “competing” countries – on the contrary!

A source of misunderstandings (and misinterpretations) is that the amounts intended for rural development are often compared individually, i.e. out of context. At this point, the proportions are indeed different from the final agricultural subsidies among acceding countries, but the sums are also different, much smaller. In this subsidy group smaller countries are favoured, which means that per capita they get almost 2.5 times more from this fund than the Czech Republic or Hungary. Figure 4. shows the proportion of rural development funds among countries.

The Hungarian subsidy level is far above that of some old Member States (preceding Portugal, Finland, Spain and Italy) and reaches the first two already in the first year. This, however, cannot be attributed to the “victory that Hungary achieved” in the negotiations but acceptable wheat yields, partly remaining from previous years.


Which consequences shall the producers reckon with?

After the accession the so-called simplified disbursement system of subsidies in the land utilisation and the relative profitability of the different branches will bring along significant changes. In addition, the territory-based subsidies are going to increase steadily for 10 years, product-based subsidies will remain the same for 6 years and will gradually seize to exist in four years.

– The secure wheat market (with its sale and price guarantees), the significant support and the deletion of obligations on fallow farming bring the branch into a very favourable position, which was already the most competitive part of the Hungarian agriculture.

– Plantation cultures and the actually utilised lawn lands benefit from the advantages of the before unexpected EU subsidies. The amount of subsidies quadruples in 10 years (from 16-17000 HUF to 65-70000 HUF/ha). Lawn farming gets a great chance for modernisation.

– Part of the direct subsidies of the so-called GOF plants (wheat and oil crops) “roams” to other areas, but those of livestock breeding branches come here, too. The 20-23000 HUF/ha subsidy that is to be paid from Hungarian resources, is added to the previous amount.

– Since the only condition of territory-based EU fund subsidies is keeping the land in culture condition more and more plough-land will be worth using as lawn, forest or fallow land.

– Cattle and sheep breeding “come to grief” with this system of re-distribution, by the allocation of the Brussels resources on agricultural territory and gets to the same level as pig and poultry breeding. At the same time the whole agricultural sector receives more support since the amounts deriving from all the quotas can be distributed irrespective of the actual number of animals.

– The subsequent disadvantages of livestock breeding can be compensated by the reduction of production costs or, even more preferably, the improvement of meat stock quality, which promises a serious increase in the price of meat products. Since the proportion of small-scale production units is significant at these products, the key and condition of the solution could be the alliance and collaboration so eagerly “contraindicated” in earlier agricultural policies, and the strict enforcement of contract discipline.

– We cannot deny the danger of the narrowing of livestock breeding, which is already at its nadir. This danger is reduced by the extra subsidies that cattle and sheep breeding receives from the so-called “national envelop” for 6 years. The question is whether there will be enough political strength and will to use the resources only for modernisation and transition and not for aiding those who lag behind and cannot hold on in the competition.

– The EU accession also sets the Hungarian land market in motion. Direct subsidies have already begun to impose their effect on this politics-stricken area, firstly and more intensively on rents, somewhat slower on the price of land.


How shall we go on?

Hungary’s whole economy, institutional systems and society are well prepared and getting ready for our accession to the EU with confidence. Within this positive image we must evaluate the situation, expectations and preparedness of the agriculture and people living in the countryside much more subtly. The country did not manage the values of reform measures taken in the 1980ies well, and most of its advantages were squandered by politics. People living from agriculture have lost the most, and won the least through the economic and social transformation. While the industry went through a fundamental structural transformation that resulted in closing up to the developed countries in many areas, primarily following the investments of foreign capital in Hungary, this change did not take place in agriculture. The changes and structural transformations were not driven by conscious actions but rather constraints due to the lack of resources, and by obsolescence instead of renewal. Foreign capital was completely ousted from the transformation process of agriculture – largely because of Hungarian intentions and ideological considerations based on the demagogic notion that the “homeland is not for sale”. We could still help a lot by modern rental constructions.

Accession is awaited by a Hungarian agriculture that sees a life-belt in the EU’S agricultural policy, but it is aware, rightly, that this will not be able to help the small-holders who would need it most desperately. The EU resources that aim to help the rural development and the closing-up of people living in a disadvantageous situation, together with the Hungarian budgetary resources, make the creation of a competitive, environment friendly agriculture and the improvement of equal chances for the countryside more realistic than ever. This is one of our most important economic and social tasks. For this, however, beside money and will we also need understanding, cooperation and social peace. Instead of fighting we need to have conciliation in the fundamental goals, and everybody can gloss over the details to taste and discretion.



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Source: Structural changes of agriculture in the 90ies. Central Statistics Office (CSO), 2003.


The criterion of individual farming is to have 1500 m2 agricultural land, 500 m2 plantation, one horse, cattle, pig or sheep, or 50 poultry, 5 bee families etc.


Source: István, Kapronczai (ed.): A magyar mezőgazdaság az adatok tükrében a rendszerváltás után. AKII Agrárgazdasági Információk 2002/5.


Hungarian economic literature tends to use the expression ”forced contractor” often, which indicates that somebody displays an own economic activity because he has no other choice. If a well-operating agricultural co-operative winds up in a village, in the lack of other possibilities the people working in it have no other choice but to start agricultural production on an individual, own or rented land.


This rather loose limit led to a number of misunderstandings in the Hungarian public opinion and among European experts, since hearing or listening about the „alarmingly high number” of agricultural producers, they conclude that there is a danger of latent migration.


Source: The regional timelines of the workforce survey 1992-2000. CSO, 2000.


Economic corporations cultivating on almost half of the agricultural land use organic dung only on 60-70 000 ha and the situation is not much better on private farms.


In 1990, 205000 ha of land were under irrigation; in 1998 this number was 119000.


The data are taken from the FOOD system of Kopint-Datorg processed in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.


This point is about the Copenhagen Agreement signed on 18th December 2002. Although the recited data were modified because of the later definition of the disbursement method, and the 25% EU and 30% Hungarian subsidies get to the producers on two channels, it is crucial to know them in order to be able to understand the concrete subsidising methods. The data are from various publications of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.


The cow-stock decreased from the 630000 in 1990 to 380000, the milk production from 2.8 billion litres to 2.1 billion, and the low level of milk consumption further decreased to 150 litres per capita, which raises serious public health concerns.


The Poles did not choose this opportunity, because of liquidity problems, but asked for being able to redistribute money from the EU’s Structural Funds. We did not use the Structural Funds for this purpose, similarly to other acceding countries, and stipulated the system of added national resources in contrast with earlier EU regulations.


Pig and poultry breeding follows only the trends of the market, though these branches may also get certain subsidies for primarily investments aiming at environment protection and veterinary welfare.


The first notion is not true, but the latter is well-known and everybody took it into consideration in advance.