Year after year, the foreign trade of agricultural and food industry products greatly contributes to the positive balance of the national economy. Therefore, they have a significant macro-economic impact, Minister of Agriculture István Nagy said at the annual conference of foreign trade attachés held in Budapest.

The Minister said in the last three years, the value of food industry exports has been continuously above EUR 8 billion. This achievement required a significant improvement in the productivity of Hungarian agriculture between 2010 and 2018, in consequence of which Hungary has taken a meaningful step towards catching up with the old Member States, he added.

In 2018, the percentage of agricultural exports to the total exports of the national economy was 8.3 per cent, and agriculture and the attached industries contributed to the national economy’s surplus of almost EUR 5.6 billion with EUR 2.9 billion. Between 2010 and 2018, exports increased by 49 per cent, imports by 57 per cent, and consequently the balance by 35 per cent.

Regarding the areas of agriculture and environmental protection, at present, diplomats specialising in agricultural and environmental affairs are stationed in 13 locations. The rise in exports and most of the existing agricultural-environmental relations are owing to the network of agricultural attachés.

Mr Nagy pointed out that the food industry qualifies as a strategic sector, and will therefore receive grants worth HUF 300 billion during the period between 2014-2020. He highlighted that, based on data available to date, grants channelled to the food industry have already exceeded HUF 300 billion. Of the 5,000 businesses active in the food industry, approximately a thousand are engaged in export activities. Sales revenues realised by exporting companies have reached almost HUF 1,300 billion.

At present, more than 30 per cent of food industry sales revenues are derived from exports, and this percentage is rising gradually. Most of the export revenues are realised in the meat industry, animal feed production, and fruit and vegetable processing.

The head of the Ministry of Agriculture drew attention to the fact that Hungary follows and applies the world’s most stringent animal and plant hygiene regulations developed by the EU. He said exported Hungarian food industry and agricultural products are free from diseases, and are of the highest quality. He underlined that Hungary only supports export and import activities which duly take account of the sensitivity of our country’s agriculture, and contribute to full compliance with animal and plant hygiene regulations.

The Minister highlighted that one of Hungary’s chief economic potentials lies in agriculture and food industry. He indicated that our country continues to remain open to value-creating investments which serve to promote the cause of agriculture, and help the countryside to become more competitive.