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Agriculture minister: Government supporting irrigation systems

The government is committed to strengthening the agricultural sector's resistance against droughts, the minister of agriculture said in a video published on Facebook on Thursday.

Istvan Nagy said “irrigiation is in the public interest, as the basis for secure food supplies”.

The government’s efforts in recent years have included setting up local irrigiation communities, and distributing a total 45 billion forints (EUR 113.5m) among farmers to develop their own systems, the minister said, adding that a further 70 billion forints would be available for the same purpose between 2023 and 2027.

Since 2020, when parliament passed a law on irrigation systems, which paved the way for irrigation communities, 118 such groups have been formed irrigating over 56,000 hectares of land, Nagy said, adding that a further 68 communities had appealed for registration.

In recent years, the government has facilitated construction of eight reservoirs nationwide, with a total capacity of 5 million cubic metres, Nagy said, but added that the country’s water management system called for a “thorough restructuring” and warned that “farming is no longer possible without irrigation amid changing climatic conditions”.

With regard to the current, unprecedented droughts, the Drought Emergency Operative Body has decided to speed up insurance companies’ procedures to compensate farmers, introduced a moratorium for agricultural businesses’ debt service, set up a pool of 3 billion forints for fodder to animal farmers, and ensure an extra 1.4 billion forints to help farmers pay larger energy bills, the agriculture ministry said in a statement.

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