Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó called the food industry one of the opening points of the Hungarian economy at the foundation stone laying ceremony for Várda Meat Ltd.’s new plant in the Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County town of Kisvárda on Tuesday.

The poultry by-product processing plant will cost 3.96 billion forints (EUR 12.1 million). “In 2018, the Hungarian food industry generated a production value of 3235 billion forints (EUR 9.9bn), an increase of seven percent from the previous year. One tenth of total processing industry output came from this sector”, the Minister said. “151 thousand people are employed by the sector, and poultry exports exceeded 220 thousand tons last year, which is 30 thousand tons more than in 2017. A significant proportion of this came from Kisvárda and the surrounding area”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

“The Government is contributing 1.58 billion forints (EUR 4.8 million) in non-returnable funding towards the investment being realised by the company, which sells 100 percent of its products on the British market, and the project will create fifty new jobs”, he added. “Kisvárda is seeing the launch of an investment project that will generate tangible profits not only for the region, but for the whole of the Hungarian economy”, Mr. Szijjártó stated.

With relation to the performance of the Hungarian economy, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the press that Hungary produced the continents highest level of economic growth of 5.2 percent during the first quarter of 2019, giving the country the title of “European champion”. “This figure is three and a half times the average European growth for the first quarter”, the Minister said, adding that the last time this economic index was so high was in 2010. “The excellent result has also been achieved thanks to the fact that there are one hundred thousand more people working this year than in 2018, and a total of 820 thousand new workplaces have been created in Hungary since 2010. The unbroken investment appetite is also visible behind the figures: last year, the value of investments increased by 25.5 percent nationally, and export performance increased by 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2019”, the politician added.

With relation to the development of the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector, the Minister told reporters that Eximbank has provided 300 billion forints (EUR 920 million) in loans to Hungarian enterprises in the interests of improving competitiveness. Government Commissioner Miklós Seszták, the region’s Member of Parliament, said: “It has been proven that major, high-volume investment projects can also be realised on this side of the River Tisza”. He said it was exemplary that a host of local and regional small and medium-sized enterprises will be able to link to Master Good Ltd.’s poultry processing plant in Kisvárda as suppliers.

According to a statement by Várda Meat Ltd., the new plant will process the chicken entrails, non-edible cuttings and feathers that are generated in industrial quantities in poultry slaughterhouses, producing premium quality meat meal, poultry fat and feather meal from roughly 19-21 thousand tons of by-products every year. The plant, which is being constructed as a greenfield investment, is expected to be completed by November. The company is investing 2.3 billion forints (EUR 7 million) of its own resources in the project, 1.4 billion forints of which it will be financing from a bank loan. Várda Meat Ltd. realised 580 million forints (EUR 1.78 million) in turnover in 2018, and employed 21 permanent staff last year.