Farmers engaged in animal husbandry and milk production can expect to receive increased funding in 2015, Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas announced on Friday at the inauguration of Jász-Föld Zrt’s expanded animal husbandry unit on the outskirts of Jászladány in Hungary’s Northern Great Plains region.

At the event, Minister Fazekas emphasised that Hungary’s agricultural funding would be increasing by 20 percent until 2020, thus improving the competitiveness of Hungarian farmers within the European Union. This increase includes a rise in the level of production-based funding to 13 percent from the previous 3.5 percent.

DownloadPhoto: Csaba Pelsőczy

The annual budget for cow farmers is increasing by 55 percent to 69 million euros, with funding for dairy cows and beef cattle increasing to EUR 353 and EUR 216 per animal, respectively. Milk producers can expect to receive a total of some HUF 20bn (EUR 65.3 million) in funding in 2015, which is 14bn more than the current level of funding. Cattle farmers will be receiving some HUF 11bn (EUR 35.9 million) for various activities next year, which represents an increase of roughly 5 billion forints.

The “More Jobs in Agriculture!” Programme, which has been given a seven-year budget of HUF 212bn (EUR 692 million), of which HUF 180bn is derived from national resources, represent a unique opportunity for livestock farmers, Mr. Fazekas added, pointing out that this is also an indication of how important agriculture is to the Hungarian Government, which is providing high levels of its own resources to fund the sector in addition to the EU funding received.

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Speaking of the results so far, the Minister pointed out that since last summer stocks of cattle, beef cows and dairy cattle have increased by 25, 11 and 5 thousand, respectively. However, the fact that imported milk is “pushing the whole European market and searching for its place” because of the Russian embargo is a problem and requires further discussion and measures, Mr. Fazekas said.

Despite complaints regarding low funding and late payments in the pig sector, several good examples show that there are also opportunities in this sector and it is possible to achieve results, the Minister said, pointing out that in addition to available funding the Government has provided a further HUF 1.6bn (EUR 5.2 million) for the Pig Programme, which together with several other positive measures has reversed previous trends and has led to an increase in pig stocks, which have increased by 204 thousand during a single year to exceed 3 million.

Mr. Fazekas also stressed that the EU and the Hungarian Government had contributed a total of over half a billion forints (EUR 1.6m) towards the realisation of Jász-Föld Zrt’s development project, adding that the guarantor of success for the company is that it showcases the best traditions of Hungarian work: good management, precision and order.

In his speech, CEO Zoltán Szatmári spoke about the fact that the company had spent over 4 billion forints (EUR 13m) to develop its Jászladány plant over the past 6 years, half of which was financed by funding received through tenders published by the European Agricultural And Rural Development Fund (EMVA), with the other half financed by the company itself.

The latest HUF 1.2bn (EUR 3.9m) project included 900 million towards the modernisation of the company’s cattle breeding unit, where a new 630-animal stable was constructed and several elements of the applied technology have been modernised. As a result, the number of animals at the unit has increased from 600 to 900, while milk production is expected to increase by an even larger ratio.

The HUF 300 million spent on developing the pig production unit, including the construction of a new fattening unit and sow housing, means that the number of sows is increasing from 600 to 780, while the number of pigs sold for slaughter will increase from 14,000 to 18,000.

(MTI, Ministry of Agriculture)