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Government announces measures to help farmers hit by drought

The government has ordered a moratorium on the repayment of agricultural businesses' investment and working capital loans effective September 2022 until the end of 2023, the minister of agriculture said on Sunday.

Istvan Nagy said on Facebook that the decision had been made on the initiative of the operative body in charge of making proposals for central measures to tackle the impacts of the current droughts.

Farmers will get to decide whether they use the opportunity or not, he added.

Additionally, animal breeders will be offered a total of 3 billion forints (EUR 7.5m) support for the acquisition of animal feed, he said.

State-owned irrigation facilities will get 1.4 billion forints extra support to pay their increased energy costs, he added.

Farmers will again get the opportunity to submit requests for extraordinary water demands and the authority will automatically approve them, Nagy said.

Insurance companies will offer fast-tracked assessment and pay the compensation for damage caused by the drought within 14 days, he added.

Nagy said the drought resulting from a shortage of precipitation since last autumn has caused a 25 percent drop in wheat harvest and destroyed a significant part of maize in eastern and central Hungary. The operative body has been monitoring the situation, also accepting proposals from farmers for ways to tackle the situation in the short, medium and long terms, he said.

The opposition DK on Sunday called on the government to provide 500 billion forints in the short term for supporting farmers hit by the drought.

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