Hungary is hosting a session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) European Commission on Agriculture for the first time on 22-23 September 2015, with the participation of government delegates, non-governmental organisations and representatives of the European Union from 35 countries in the European and Central Asian region.

The topics of the large-scale event include the renewal of family farms, soil protection and ecosystems, social issues, the role of women in agriculture, and food and nutrition-related policies within the European and Central Asian region.

The event was opened by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Deputy State Secretary for International Relations, Katalin Tóth. In her speech, she praised the excellent relationship between Hungary and the UN’s largest professional organisation and presented Hungarian initiatives the experiences of which could facilitate the work of the FAO: during the International Year of Soils (2015), Hungary increased awareness of the sustainable use of soils through organising and funding several professional meetings. For example, the International Soil Judging Contest was held in Europe for the first time ever in early September, at which the Ministry of Agriculture funded the participation of 11 experts from developing countries.

Ms. Tóth also mentioned the Alumni Club recently launched by the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture, within the framework of which relations are maintained with foreign students who completed their university studies here in Hungary and their further professional development is tracked. The Ministry has awarded scholarships to 230 university students from 33 countries to attend Hungarian institutions of higher education in recent years. The Deputy State Secretary also spoke about the important role played by family farms in food security, with regard to which the Ministry will be organising an international conference entitled “The Present and Future of Family Farms in Europe and Hungary” during the upcoming OMÉK National Agriculture and Food Industry Exhibition and Fair on 25 September.

The participants of the FAO session will be meeting in Budapest on September 22 and 23, and on the second day they will visit the OMÉK National Agriculture and Food Industry Exhibition and Fair.
With relation to the FAO’s presence in Hungary, it should be mentioned that the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia operates from Hungary with the support of the Hungarian Government, in addition to which the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture and its various organisations work in close cooperation to provide both expert and financial assistance to help developing countries achieve food security.

(Ministry of Agriculture)