“Hungarian agriculture is the fastest growing agriculture in Europe, and the goal is for it to remain so in future”, Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas said in the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplém County town of Tállya on Tuesday at the State of Agricultural and Rural Development conference organised by the Századvég Foundation.

The Minister stressed that this requires the most efficient possible use of tendered funding opportunities, a suitable loan system and a research, science and university background. There is a generational transition ongoing within Hungarian agriculture and an increasing number of highly-trained professionals who are now able to make excellent use of the opportunities afforded by modern technology are appearing on the scene, he added.

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On his lecture on the opportunities available to Hungarian agriculture, Mr. Fazekas emphasises that a change in approach on the part of farmers is a major requirement for the sector to offer as many jobs as possible and have an increasingly large source of income. Farmers must switch to a food economy approach, meaning an agricultural enterprise can be much more successful if it sends the goods that it produced to market in a processed form.

Mr. Fazekas highlighted the fact that the prestige of Hungarian food needs to be restored, explaining that he is seeing progress in this filed in view of the fact that more and more local products and regional specialities are appearing on the market under their own brands. The Ministry would like farmers to carve out the largest possible slice from the Hungarian food market, he said.

The Minister also referred to the fact that while in 2010 there were practically no available jobs in Hungary’s small rural settlements, today we are experiencing a labour shortage in agriculture, because the production of quality products requires more manual labour in comparison to mass production. The value of Hungarian foods is increased by Hungarian agriculture’s GMO-free status, which is also reflected on the markets, he added.

Mr. Fazekas said it was important to prepare for climate change and called for a transition to water-saving and irrigation farming methods.