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Agriculture Minister: Food imports must comply with EU regulations

Hungary insists that produce imported to the European Union must comply with the regulations that the EU imposes on its own producers, Istvan Nagy, the minister of agriculture, said on Thursday, after meeting Virginijus Sinkevicius, the European environment, oceans and fisheries commissioner.

Nagy said that Hungary’s EU presidency would strive for a productive working relationship with partners by holding large international conferences, according to a ministry statement.

Farmers more than anyone had a vested interest in maintaining a healthy climate as this was the basis for their livelihood and future, he said, adding that it was wrong to blame farmers for climate change.

The Common Agricultural Policy, he noted, already contained incentives to reduce pesticides, while precision farming employing technologies such as drones were far more effective, he added.

The two officials also discussed water management. Hungarian agriculture contended with floods as well as drought, he noted, adding that irrigation farming was especially effective. More EU resources and subsidies should be made available for this purpose, he argued, noting that water can be returned to the landscape efficiently through the use of precision technologies.

The minister also referred to opportunities in freshwater fish farming, noting that social needs must be met as sea catches waned. Hungary wants to effect a change of attitude in this area, he said, and it will highlight this during its EU presidency.

Meanwhile, he said Hungary has launched a system for monitoring soil which could be expanded to cover the rest of Europe, he said.

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