Agriculture contributed EUR 2.9 billion to the EUR 6.5 billion trade surplus of the national economy in 2018, taking both food and agricultural products exports into account, Minister of State for Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture (AM) Zsolt Feldman said on Thursday, at the Agriculture 2019 Conference in Kecskemét.

At the event of the agrarian profession organised for the seventh time now, the Minister of State of AM underlined that agriculture managed to keep growing in 2018: its output rose by 3.6 percent. The plant cultivation output increased by 2.6 percent and that of animal husbandry by 5.7 percent year on year. He emphasised that, under the favourable geo-political and market conditions, agricultural investments grew by 8.3 percent last year, and farmers spent almost HUF 350 billion on developments.

Zsolt Feldman spoke also of the fact that HUF 98.4 billion is available this year for agricultural aid exclusively from domestic resources. This budget makes it possible for the Ministry to maintain its existing support schemes and launch new ones in the future.

The Minister of State has also called attention to the fact that final payments under the direct support schemes and the mailing of the relevant resolutions will take place in April. Direct aid of HUF 381 billion in all has been transferred to farmers so far.

At the roundtable discussion on the sideline of the conference, Miklós Kis, Minister of State for Rural Development of the Ministry of Agriculture, said in connection with the implementation of the Rural Development Programme that aid of almost HUF 620 billion has been granted already to implementing investments in agriculture that will mostly be completed by the end of the current year. The Ministry and the paying agency will give every assistance to the winner farmers within the limits of their possibilities and the legislative conditions.

Furthermore, the Minister of State called attention to the fact that the Ministry of Agriculture has started negotiations with the European Commission to have the funds of the Rural Development Programme regrouped among its priorities. Depending on the outcome, it may become feasible to reallocate unused resources to programme measures where no decisions have been taken yet, i.e. innovation tender.

(AM Press Office)