Organic farming

Until the mid-2000-s (and especially after the National Agro-environmental Programme was launched in 2002), the number of organic farmers and the area of land cultivated by them increased significantly in Hungary. At the height of this process, over 130 thousand hectares of land were cultivated organically, and there were nearly 1,600 controlled agricultural producers. However, since 2004, there has been a decline and fluctuations both in terms of the size of the controlled land and the number of controlled producers. The decline has been especially spectacular since 2009, mainly due to the transformation of the regulatory system and the structure of subsidies. If we add the fact that Hungary is among the very last in Europe in terms of the share of area of land under organic farming,  the 'results' thus achieved are clearly disappointing: in 2012, there were about 1560 organic producers cultivating 130.6 thousand hectares, being roughly equivalent to the figures from a decade earlier. The decrease observed in Hungary is unparalleled and unprecedented both in Europe and in the narrower Carpathian region.

Under optimal circumstances, organic farming should be focused on high (or higher) added value, local produce and producers directly benefiting producers from sales. In Hungary, however, it is instead about producing organic livestock feed and other agricultural raw materials, complemented by the fact that fallows, grasslands, reeds and other unused land is often reclassified as organic farmland for the sake of increased subsidies, unintentionally embellishing the statistical data.

In terms of so-called organic animal husbandry, 75% of the organic livestock is cattle. Including the buffalo (933 livestock units or 4.2% of the total portfolio) the share of ruminants (17607 units) is 79.2% of the total organic animal stock (22216 livestock units). The vast majority of this stocks lives within the bounds of national parks (for gene preservation and presentation purposes), not involved in food production at all. To make things worse, the size of livestock in ecological animal husbandry is continuously decreasing (except for poultry). Particularly impressive is the decline of organic beekeeping, which used to be one of the success stories of the organic livestock sector in Hungary.


Area under organic farming

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Sources of data: