Hungarian Farmers Association, LMP Wary About Subsidy Cuts In Farm Sector

  • 6 Aug 2014 9:00 AM
Hungarian Farmers Association, LMP Wary About Subsidy Cuts In Farm Sector
The government’s planned subsidy cuts have created tensions in the farming sector, the head of the Association of Agricultural Producers (MOSZ) said. Area-based European Union subsidies are set to drop by at least 150,000 euros per farm with land exceeding 1,200 hectares, under a government decision announced in mid-July. The subsidies will be used to support animal husbandry instead, farm minister Sándor Fazekas said earlier.

Tamás Nagy, the head of MOSZ, said the subsidy cut would make life difficult mostly for farmers who worked through the tough years after the democratic transition before managing to stabilise their businesses, which are often the sole legal employers in the area, Nagy said. The green opposition LMP party said the government’s move would not fulfil its stated aim of helping small farmers.

The subsidies are currently mainly absorbed by farms of 300-1,200 hectares, LMP lawmaker Benedek R. Sallai told a news conference on Tuesday. LMP would draw away subsidies from 300-1,200 hectare farms and give them to small farmers with just one or two hectares, Sallai said, adding that the subsidy distribution should also take into account the number of jobs a farm provides. Ruling Fidesz lawmaker Sándor Font, the head of parliament’s agriculture committee, said that large farms would stay viable even without the EU subsidy.

He said the farmers’ association had “sided with leftist organisations and tries to enforce its interests through inciting fear”. Font said that MOSZ was a representative of large estates.

It is not true that those estates are the primary providers of jobs in the provinces, on the contrary, in many places all the available land is leased to the owners of those estates, which creates a difficult situation for family farms, he insisted.

“We have done nothing else but adjusted the subsidy system to the 80-20 percent ratio of large and small farms. This will not drive large estates bankrupt. Their size guarantees their viability,” Font said.


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