“Hungary is committed to climate protection, and also with regard to the related tasks it regards it as important that the funding available for rural development should not be reduced within the European Union’s upcoming multiannual financial framework”, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Minister of State for Rural Development said on Thursday in Kaposvár.

At the Agrárutak (“Agrarian Paths”) conference organised by the Somogy County Directorate of the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture and the University of Kaposvár, Miklós Kis repeated that according to the European Commission’s proposal, there will be less money available to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) from 2020, and Hungary would have a budget of some 940 billion forints (EUR 3bn) available for rural development instead of the previous 1300 billion (EUR 4.15bn).

“We say that this cannot be accepted, because if we wish to prescribe most commitments for agriculture with relation to environmental protection criteria, is it vital that we are able to assure at least the previous level of compensation”, the Minister of State stressed.

‘The Hungarian Government is working to assure that the upcoming new European Parliament and Commission votes in favour of a budget that preserves the current level of CAP funding’, he added.

Mr. Kis spoke about the fact that a host of climate protection-related projects have received funding within the framework of the rural development programme in recent years, citing as an example the development of forest areas, agrarian environmental protection programme, and, amongst others, the maintenance of ecological farming.

General Director of the National Centre for Agricultural Research and Innovation Csaba Gyuricza said agriculture forestry is extremely important from the perspective of climate protection and climate change.

There are 600-900 thousand hectares of unfavourable agricultural land in Hungary where traditional technologies cannot be applied in an ecological and economically sustainable manner, not least because extreme weather conditions further worsen production conditions, he explained.

Chairman of the Somogy County Directorate of the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture Sándor Gombos said there is a single path before Hungarian agriculture: improving its competitiveness. “While Hungary sells one unit of produced agricultural goods at one and a half times the price with little added value, this same index is 2.5 units in Poland, 3 in Germany, 4 in Holland and 5 in Belgium.

“The organisation of agricultural producers must also be improved, because currently only about 10 percent of the 350-360 thousand producers belong to some kind of farmers’ group or organisation instead of the 60 percent that would be expedient”, he pointed out.

Deputy Rector of Kaposvár University János Tossenberger spoke about the fact that experts are searching for solutions to climate change and will eventually find them, but the transfer and provision of information is important to enable these solutions to also appear in everyday life.

In her lecture, climate researcher Mónika Lakatos from the National Meteorological Service predicted a further increase in the Earth’s average temperate, and hotter summers and more frequent heatwaves for Hungary. She also said that the distribution of rainfall is expected to develop in an unfavourable manner, with an increased threat of droughts.

“A drastic reduction of carbon dioxide emission is required for the increase in the average temperature to not exceed 2 degrees compared to the time of the industrial revolution, and without such a decrease a growth in temperature of 4-6 degrees is not unimaginable”, she emphasised.