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Agriculture minister hails EU approval of Hungary CAP strategic plan

The European Commission's recent approval of the Hungarian government's strategic plan in connection with the Common Agricultural Policy provides the country with a "historic opportunity", Istvan Nagy, the agriculture minister, told a press conference on Tuesday.

The minister called the agreement on agricultural subsidies for Hungary for the period until 2027 “favourable”, with the EC “giving greater priority to sustainability than before”, adding that food security and rural developments were also priorities for the Hungarian government. In its plan, the government has aimed to balance environmental considerations and aspects of competitiveness, he said.

The EU monies together with increased domestic funding would give an “unprecedented” momentum to rural development projects, farmers, and food producers, Nagy said, adding that he hoped the funds would help renew natural resources and the country’s natural environment. The funds could contribute to making the farming sector and the food industry more competitive, more efficient, and more resilient to crises, including “climatic challenges”, he said.

Hungary’s strategic plan is based on assumptions of receiving 2,485 billion forints (EUR 6.2bn) in direct subsidies and 2,891 billion forints for rural developments.

The EU will continue its direct subsidies, with Hungarian farmers receiving an annual 147 euros per each hectare of their land, while smallholders with up to 10 hectares of land could receive another 80 euros per hectare and 40 euros per hectare if they own between 10-150 hectares. Young farmers with land up to 300 hectares could receive 92 euros per hectare on top of the 147 euro basic subsidy, the minister said. The system, he added, would offer further subsidies if farmers made ecological commitments.

Zsolt Feldman, the ministry’s state secretary, said the EU funds could help increase Hungary’s agricultural production by 50 percent and double its value-added by the end of the decade. By 2030, Hungary’s agricultural exports could total 15 billion euros compared with 10 billion euros at the beginning of the decade, he said. He added that over half of the funds for rural development, nearly 1,500 billion forints (EUR 3.7bn), may go towards developments in the sector and 1,000 billion forints may be used to finance sustainability projects.

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