It is a success for Hungarian agricultural diplomacy that four more countries have joined the European Soy Declaration previously established thanks to a Hungarian-Austrian-German initiative. The signature signing ceremony took place within the framework of the Berlin International Green Week food industry expo, one of the accompanying programs of which is one of the world’s largest conferences of agriculture ministers, the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture.

The cultivation of sustainable and GMO-free feed crops is becoming an increasingly important priority worldwide. The Soy Declaration, which came about on a Hungarian-Austrian-German Initiative, was signed in Berlin by the agriculture ministers of another four countries: Kosovo, Moldova, Macedonia and Montenegro. Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas, the host of the enlargement event in Berlin, emphasised that the maintaining of GMO-free agriculture is an extraordinary opportunity for both European agriculture and future generations. It is an important sign that the initiative goes beyond the borders of the European Union and is increasingly transforming into a pan-European movement. The vast majority of European consumers reject genetically modified foods, demand for conscious and healthy nutrition is steadily increasing, and more and more states are recognising that providing food to their citizens in a sustainable manner also leads to major returns in other areas.

Thanks also to the Danube Soy Association, which was established in 2012, the production of GMO-free soybeans in the Danube region has grown to 700 thousand hectares in the last four years. Sándor Fazekas stressed that all the conditions are given for achieving further growth within this field. According to the Hungarian Agriculture Minister, the signing of the Declaration is a major step towards creating GMO-free, sustainable European agricultural cultivation. Hungary has stated its freedom from GMOs at the highest possible level, in its Constitution, and in 2005 Hungary announced the "Alliance for a GMO-free Europe" initiative. “The declaration signed today, which has now been joined by 18 European states in addition to Hungary, is an important milestone of this unification”, Mr. Fazekas emphasised following the signing ceremony. As a result of the Hungarian-German joint initiative, on 17 July 2017 the Agriculture Ministers of Austria, Finland, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Croatia, Poland, Luxembourg, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia all signed the European Soy Declaration.

As one of the programs of the Green Week agriculture expo, the Hungarian and German agriculture ministries jointly organised a panel discussion on sustainable protein feed production. A panel discussion, which included lectures by several well-known speakers, attracted great interest and was a resounding success, and the importance of this topic is confirmed by the fact that more registration to the event was already oversubscribed by almost double in early January.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)