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Agriculture Minister: European farming under ‘green ideological pressure’

European farming is under the unprecedented pressure of "green ideology", Istvan Nagy, the minister of agriculture, told public television on Tuesday.

He said farming was over-politicised in Europe and hobbling competitiveness, and, moreover, the EU internal market had been opened up to cheap Ukrainian produce, putting the future of European farmers under a dark cloud.

In the wake of farmer demonstrations all over Europe, Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) red tape was trimmed, “but this doesn’t go far enough”, he said.

“When there’s a war [in Ukraine], and 60 percent of European cropland is threatened by drought, the insistence on policies such as mandatory fallowing endangers food security,” Nagy said.

CAP rules have been changed regarding crop rotation and red tape scrapped in the case of farmers with less than ten hectares, “but more should be done”, he added.

The minister said European farmers should not be on the hook for climate change as they had not caused the damage but suffered as a result of it. “They must be allowed to become partners in overcoming problems, and for this they need subsidies,” he said.

Nagy noted that parliament had recently adopted the producer protection package that protects vulnerable producers against buyers and processors.

He also said Hungary’s long-term goal was to diversify farming as much as possible, and 2,900 billion forints (EUR 7.5bn) would be made available until 2027 for expanding the processing and food industries.

But in return, rules that protect the interest of farmers must be observed, he said, noting that they must be paid within 30 days for produce to eliminate practices where “the buyer has long sold the produce and the producer, who had invested in it for months, has still not received payment”.

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