“As Hungary can only hope to have a secure food supply if horticulture survives and develops, it is vital to develop industrial research and its professional background, to reinforce agricultural training, and to assure an appropriate number of highly qualified professionals”, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Sándor Farkas explained in Szentes at the 7th Hungarian Paprika Day.

“Global vegetable production and consumption is steadily rising and has nearly doubled in the past 20 years. There is increasing worldwide demand for high quality vegetables that are available all year round”, Mr. Farkas emphasised.

“The European Union’s average per capita daily consumption of fruit and vegetables is still below the WHO’s recommendation of 400 grams per day, but the increase is promising”, he explained. “In Hungary, people eat just above 50% of that quantity on average. By contrast, with the increasing demand for healthy eating, domestic, safely produced food, fruit and vegetables will in all likelihood be increasingly sought after. The domestic sector is capable of such production”, the Deputy Minister claimed.

“In 2017, the production value of the various branches of horticulture was 343.2 billion forints, including 177.5 billion in fresh vegetables”, Mr. Farkas said. “Hungary grows vegetables on approximately 82,000 hectares, including roughly 3,400 used for forced vegetable production in 2017. The latter group is comprised of paprika on 1,550 hectares, cabbage varieties on 640 hectares, tomato on 370 hectares, salad varieties on 350 hectares, and cucumber on 110 hectares”, the Deputy Minister said, describing last year’s results within the sector.

“Hungary performs forced cultivation in greenhouses on a total of 140-150 hectares and has 400-500 hectares of state-of-the-art foil tunnels and blocks, with heating on 350-400 hectares, 95 percent supplied by thermal water. Hungary grows a steadily increasing amount of paprika with a number of new varieties that are highly popular, and this has given a further impetus to farmers”, Mr. Farkas emphasised.

“Some 60 percent of Hungarian paprika, approximately 110,000 tons, is meant for domestic consumption, the processing industry uses 50,000 tons and the remaining 25,000 tons are exported. The Government aims to provide people with safe domestic crops that are fresh all year round. This calls for production facilities of the appropriate size, the application of the results of research and development, and a highly qualified workforce”, the Deputy Minister said. In 2017 the Government helped farmers by paying industrial vegetable growers roughly 3.5 billion forints of direct, production-based subsidies and by paying individual growers another 1.6 billion.

(Ministry of Agriculture Press Office)