Take it away from your enemies and give it to your friends: The Hungarian agricultural law

You may have noticed that I rarely touch upon topics relating to agriculture. First, because I don’t know much about it and second, because I have bad memories of poverty-stricken southern Baranya County villages from my childhood. When my grandfather died and my father inherited a sizable farm, he decided to prepare his only child to be a future landowner. At the age of twelve I was required to learn how to grow various grains and vegetables. One week corn, the next week rye. It was loads of fun. In later years as high school students we were forced to spend at least two weeks during the summer hoeing cotton plants. Back breaking work for city girls. All in all, agriculture and I didn’t mix well.

Yet here is this new agricultural law before parliament which at first glance has the same effect on me as my early encounter with the Hungarian countryside: outrage. As I started to learn something about this new law, my free spirit revolted: what do you mean that I couldn’t buy land if I were crazy enough to want to do so? How can it be that even if I met the stringent requirements for land purchase the state could still interfere in a private transaction between the seller and the buyer? The state can decide whether it wants me to buy the land or not. Depending on whether the powers-that-be like me or not. How can that be legal? What kind of nonsense is this?

Yes, it is nonsense but it will be law soon. There is a lot of talk about preventing foreigners from acquiring Hungarian agricultural land, but the fact is that in the long run preventing it is almost impossible. At the time of Hungary’s accession to the European Union Hungary received “derogation” of the union law that allows the purchase of agricultural lands across borders. That derogation would have expired in 2010 but the Bajnai government asked for an extension. The final touches on the negotiations fell to the Orbán government. Hungary received another four years of respite from foreign land purchases that will expire in May 2014.

The new law on agriculture restricts the size of land holdings and sets stringent requirements as to who can purchase land in the first place. Let’s start with the latter. The law uses a somewhat old-fashioned word for “farmer.”  In the old days “paraszt”  (peasant) was widely used, but ” paraszt”  also has the connotation of  an ill-mannered boor and therefore there is a tendency to avoid it. Instead, especially before 1945, the word used in more genteel company was ” földműves,”  cultivator of the land. But lately one most often hears about “gazda ~ gazdák (farmer, smallholder) so I was surprised to hear that I would have to be a ” földműves” in order to own land. And not just any old “földműves”  but someone with a secondary education in agriculture (középfokú szakképesítés). No wonder that Béla Turi-Kovács, Fidesz MP and a lawyer who owns 50 hectares of agricultural land, suggested that perhaps “elementary education”  in agriculture would suffice, adding that maybe already in elementary school children could start learning something about growing corn. My father was ahead of his time!

The only exception to this “földműves” rule is land acquired by inheritance. However, there are some diehards in Fidesz who don’t like this exception. According to them, only those people should own land who will cultivate it. As usual, the Orbán government favors the churches in this law: although churches cannot purchase land, they can inherit it or receive it as a gift. Like in the Middle Ages. The happy “földműves” who manages to get some land must live within a twenty-kilometer radius from his landholding. The only exception is for farms specializing in animal husbandry. I guess we can call that exception the Lex Csányi, named after the billionaire CEO of OTP whose company, Bóly Zrt., owns 20,000 hectares and a large cattle farm.

Now we can move on to the size of the landholdings. An “őstermelő” can own a maximum of 50 hectares. An őstermelő seems to be someone who has no employees and who grows most of his crop for his own use or for selling it locally at farmer’s markets. Then there is the individual entrepreneur (egyéni vállalkozó) who can own up to 300 hectares. Third, there is the family holding (családi gazdaság) that can have between 50 and 500 hectares but with close relatives can go up to 1,200 hectares. I would call that law Lex Mészáros after the mayor of Felcsút and the director of Orbán’s favorite Puskás Football Academy. The extended Mészáros family has about 1,200 hectares.

There is another category and that is the “agricultural company,” which can lease land. The size of the holdings depends on the number of people employed by the company. With ten employees the firm can lease only 300 hectares and for 1,200 hectares one needs 100 employees. Interesting! A family of five or six people can own 1,200 hectares but if the land is not held by an individual but by an agricultural company then this firm needs 100 employees to cultivate the same amount of land.

György Raskó, an MDF member of parliament in the 1990s and an expert on agriculture who has a fairly large farm, considers this new law a disaster. To him it is clear that the government wants to break up the existing well functioning large farms and give the land to its own clientele. Most of these larger farms lease the land for 20-25 years, after which the state can simply take the land back from them. Those who received land in this way in the last few years are relatively secure, but there are many whose lease is up in the near future. According to Raskó that may mean about 150,000 hectares per year. Altogether larger farms currently own about 1.5 million hectares. These people put a considerable amount of money into modern equipment and therefore, although they might receive some compensation, their financial loss will be considerable. Raskó claims that the change in the current law will mean a loss of one billion euros to the Hungarian agricultural sector.

An editorial in Népszabadság claims that the new law creates a chaotic situation because the law tries to satisfy two contradictory demands. On the one hand, there is a group of hungry Fidesz supporters who want their share of the national wealth and, on the other, there are Orbán’s old friends, Sándor Csányi of OTP with his cattle farm and Zsolt Nyerges with thousands and thousands of acres, who don’t want to lose their investments. So, what does one do in a case like that? In order to satisfy the first group without injuring the second the government will most likely ruin those large landowners who are not considered to be friends of the regime. So, claims the author of the article, the government will ruin well run and profitable large farms and give them away to small farmers without the necessary capital or expertise. That’s where we stand now.

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45 comments

  1. And you want to know why German farm products are cheaper than products produced in the country…. I suspect Széchenyi is rolling in his grave!

  2. Give land back to the original owners they will know what to do with it and no governement intervetion will happen . in spanish they say ladron que roba a ladron 1000 años de perdon

  3. Bernadette :
    Give land back to the original owners they will know what to do with it and no governement intervetion will happen . in spanish they say ladron que roba a ladron 1000 años de perdon

    Yeah. Never mind the laws … By the way who do you think the thief is in this context?

  4. Just assuming it was possible to trace the original owners of land from 70 years ago, and just suppose it was then possible to accurately tie up the land and owners. And then, in this fairy-land world, let’s suppose further that it would be a simple and inexpensive operation to take that land away from its current owner(s) and give it back to the descendents of it’s ‘rightful’ owner…

    What exactly do you think they would do with all this land? They haven’t farmed it for 70 years, no one in their family has the faintest idea of how to farm it. They would sell it.

    And who would they sell it to?

  5. Paul :
    So now Orbán Mugabe Viktor?

    Ain’t that the truth!
    We are known by the people we emulate: so far, Viktor has given us a smattering of Ceausescu, Hitler, and now Mugabe. But I suspect…that he is a close follower of Putin.

  6. Give land back to the original owners they will know what to do with it

    Sure. Like those disowned 1939, whose land was given to the Knightly order of Vitéz and who were later deported by the Hungarian authorities.
    http://epa.oszk.hu/00000/00018/00012/07tatrai.htm
    “The Knightly Order of Vitéz, established on the basis of landed property as a reward of military virtue, was founded by Miklós Horthy in 1920. With its foundation, the aim of Horthy was to create a stratum of small and medium landowners, loyal to the political system, and to enlarge his social basis.”
    http://epa.oszk.hu/00000/00018/00012/index.htm

    Sound familiar somehow?

  7. Paul :

    Just assuming it was possible to trace the original owners of land from 70 years ago, and just suppose it was then possible to accurately tie up the land and owners. And then, in this fairy-land world, let’s suppose further that it would be a simple and inexpensive operation to take that land away from its current owner(s) and give it back to the descendents of it’s ‘rightful’ owner…

    Let me quote here Péter Esterházy, the famous Hungarian writer and “the scion of a comital branch of the Esterházy magnate family, is perhaps best known outside of his native country for Celestial Harmonies (Harmonia Caelestis, 2000) which chronicles his forefathers’ epic rise during the Austro-Hungarian empire – when Haydn composed music at the family palace – to its dispossession under communism.” He said in 1990: “I don’t want to get the land back.” He said it more elegantly but that was the gist of it.

  8. Off topic but I recommend it everybody who knows Hungarian. István Tarlós, mayor of Budapest, was Olga Kálmán’s guest today on “Egyenes beszéd.” This is how a Hungarian “gentleman” behaves. And a Hungarian “politician”behaves! he announced that Olga Kálmán’s IQ is too low to understand his words.

    What I don’t understand why they keep inviting these characters back. Politicians in other countries are happy if they get invited by the members of the media while in Hungary they behave like this. Here is the link;

    http://atv.hu/cikk/video-20121018_tarlos_istvan

  9. Eva S. Balogh :
    Off topic but I recommend it everybody who knows Hungarian. István Tarlós, mayor of Budapest, was Olga Kálmán’s guest today on “Egyenes beszéd.” This is how a Hungarian “gentleman” behaves. And a Hungarian “politician”behaves! he announced that Olga Kálmán’s IQ is too low to understand his words.
    What I don’t understand why they keep inviting these characters back. Politicians in other countries are happy if they get invited by the members of the media while in Hungary they behave like this. Here is the link;
    http://atv.hu/cikk/video-20121018_tarlos_istvan

    I disagree with you on this, Eva.
    I saw the program and Tarlos answered quite diplomatically Olga’s strenuous efforts to reveal some rupture between Fidesz politicians at the civic level and Tarlos. He neatly side-stepped her queries…several times. She wouldn’t give up. Finally, he said that she has done this same sort of prodding attack for two years and that he is tired of it. I thought he was within his rights.
    She persisted. He said he might walk out, but didn’t. Still she went on with her harangue. I don’t think he’ll go back on her
    program me for quite a while.

    Oddly enough, Olga got similar treatment from her colleague who interviewed her on Magany Beszed. She showed much less patience with him than Tarlos did with her.

    I wish she had shown half the persistence in pursuing the truth
    of why, and how, the Azeri axe murderer was released by Orban; but she was either warned off…or didn’t have the guts.

  10. This interview with Tarlos is sickening – I’m gasping.

    I have to say, that up to a point, neither of them were behaving professionally. Olga should have let Tarlos speak and think twice before she comments, especially as the conflict was getting more heated. She kept on interrupting him and, strangely, kept on flirting with him, which provoked him even more.
    But Tarlos ‘s behaviour is shocking. He is definitely not up to the task of being a mayor, his nerves clearly can’t cope with it, and he keeps taking everything personally. He is one of those “victim-style”, immature and paranoid Hungarian leaders who always complain that others criticise them and have different ideas.
    I have a feeling that these two either know each other quite well personally or they like each other. Or maybe he had made it clear to her before that he likes her as a woman, which has encouraged her flirting. Somehow they kept falling out of their roles as a journalist and politician, they were simply being “too personal”.
    It was also Olga’s fault that she let the interview slip out of her hands, however Tarlos’s behaviour towards the end was totally unacceptable. I might have kicked him out of the studio a bit earlier than Olga did.

    I guess it’s no fun for a government politician to come to Olga’s show. She can be – let’s face it – a bit predictable and unfair with them, running to hostile conclusion too soon. Tarlos must have worked himself up about it before the show, that whatever he says, she will come to the same boring conclusion that the Fidesz members of his cabinet deliberately want him to fail.
    But journalists often keep repeating and asking politicians the same questions – if he can’t cope with the challenges of talking to a critical journalist, he should change his job.
    Tarlos’s suggestion that Olga’s bosses should tell her off for this is beyond real, as is his patronizing that Olga is too sleep-deprived to understand his perfectly sensibly replies.

    This is well depressing.

  11. Yes give the land back to its old owners. Before they fled at the end of WWII, my family owned a hemp factory and the land to produce the hemp in Baja. I’d hire with an affirmative action policy and 30% of my workers would be Roma. I think I’ll plant fruit orchards and distill Palinka. Sound good Bernard?

    Maybe Fidesz can try and grow rice and oranges on the Hortobágyi plains. It would be as logical as this new law.

  12. Implementing land reform and maximising the productive use of farmland is great in principle but this approach seems to defy logic. Without an effective way of getting European-quality products to market at a competitive price (and producers getting a decent return on their investment for it), any kind of land reform is futile and Orbán’s “blood and soil” posturing will just alienate the rest of Europe still further.

    Where is the money going to come from to modernise agriculture? Is Fidesz, with its hatred of anything that smacks of the socialist era, going to sponsor the creation of cooperatives to organise the marketing and distribution of agricultural produce?

  13. Let’s be clear here. The intention is not only to create a small class of landed gentry, but to make serfs, knechts, tenant farmers, or even sharecroppers out of the local populations, the people who have actually worked those fields for generations. That’s how much Fidesz really loves the Hungarian people.

  14. GW :
    Let’s be clear here. The intention is not only to create a small class of landed gentry, but to make serfs, knechts, tenant farmers, or even sharecroppers out of the local populations, the people who have actually worked those fields for generations. That’s how much Fidesz really loves the Hungarian people.

    Precisely.

    I don’t know how anyone can mistake Orban for a
    ‘reformer’. He’s a thief, several times over (that’s only considering his present 2-year tenure)–a man who has the nerve to set up a ‘soccer academy’ for $500 and then have the government dole out $30 million in development money into it. I’d like to see him defend that (yet, I’ve not heard one journalist post a query to him!)

  15. @Lutra lutra

    “Without an effective way of getting European-quality products to market at a competitive price (and producers getting a decent return on their investment for it), any kind of land reform (…) will just alienate the rest of Europe still further.”

    Precisely.
    Not to mention the fact all the farms will go bankrupt and that would end Hungarian agriculture for a while.

    For competitive and modern agriculture you need investment, innovation, expertise.

  16. cheshire cat :
    @Lutra lutra
    “Without an effective way of getting European-quality products to market at a competitive price (and producers getting a decent return on their investment for it), any kind of land reform (…) will just alienate the rest of Europe still further.”
    Precisely.
    Not to mention the fact all the farms will go bankrupt and that would end Hungarian agriculture for a while.
    For competitive and modern agriculture you need investment, innovation, expertise.

    Let’s not forge to mention ‘size’–too small the farm, and machinery becomes too expensive
    and the yield value will drop. It’s pure nonsense, in the 21st century, to give the land over to small farms as if we lived in the 18th.

    On the other hand, the big farms seem, presently, to be in the hands of oligarchal-types who are there to get their ‘developmental money’ from the EU (which, of course, they pocket straightaway).

    Give a Hungarian a chance, and his mind will tend to con-artistry immediately. It’s in the jeans.

  17. This is somewhat tangential to the discussion but does pertain to ‘development’ in Hungary…it’s regarding the Hungarian Kayak Association asking the Serbs to pay $150,000 to authorize the move of Natasa Janics to Serbia.

    Is this standard procedure in the world of sport?
    I’ve never heard of a Canadian Olympic Athlete moving to another country and the Canadian Association asking for any money.

    Seems like another disgusting example of Hungarian
    greed-grab…

  18. Recent development in the Tarlos- Kalman affair:

    http://atv.hu/belfold/20121019_tarlos_kalman_olgatol_a_notol_elnezest_kerek

    Tarlos apologized to Olga “as a woman” but not to her as a journalist.
    He said “I simply didn’t allow her to humiliate me like she does to other right wing politicians”

    The quality of public affair discussions in Hungary has long gone to the dogs due to the miserable state of everything being “this side or that side”.
    So scandals like this are inevitable and will keep on happening, unless people sober up.

    Opposition parties and the Hungarian Journalists Association have all protested about the interview.

  19. I wonder what effect this will have on the “weekend farmers” who have their long, narrow little plots often some distance from their city dwelling. There are still many of these plots here in Fot where I live on the northern boundary of Budapest.

  20. Petofi, you mean in the genes?
    I disagree. It is learnt bad behaviour.

    You are right when you say

    “Let’s not forge to mention ‘size’–too small the farm, and machinery becomes too expensive
    and the yield value will drop. It’s pure nonsense, in the 21st century, to give the land over to small farms as if we lived in the 18th. “

  21. cheshire cat :
    Recent development in the Tarlos- Kalman affair:
    http://atv.hu/belfold/20121019_tarlos_kalman_olgatol_a_notol_elnezest_kerek
    Tarlos apologized to Olga “as a woman” but not to her as a journalist.
    He said “I simply didn’t allow her to humiliate me like she does to other right wing politicians”

    We should follow suit. I apologize to Mr Tarlos “the man”, but I’d like to emphasize that as a politician he is still a 4 star asshole.

  22. Where I live, western Massachusetts, there are small farms that do very well by growing speciality crops (tomatillos, heirloom tomatoes, asparagus, regional varieties of apples, etc.). There are also small farms run as organic farm shares. But, you can only have a moderate percentage of the landscape in these types of operations because the market for these crops and people interested in buying shares is limited. There are also many medium sized farms growing staple crops like corn, potatoes, and squash. And a few large ones doing the same. It would be useful to see an analysis of how this law is predicted to change the mix of farms of different sizes. The assumption here seems to be that it will disproportionately create small parcels. If the mix is right it might work. Anybody crunch the numbers yet?

    What is most objectionable about this law is the idea that it could become a form of political patronage.

  23. Size matters?
    Maybe worth to remember, that the Hungarian agriculture were the most effective when it was worked on industrial scale – before they attempted to re-privatize, cutting to hundred little pieces with hundred individual little owners, in the name of ‘historical justice’.

    While nobody can argue with the fact, that it was a just action – I don’t intended to go into those parts which was not – the only sensible solution would have been to convert the collective farms to cooperatives, or whatever form was best, and give the people shares in relation to their original ownership, and let them continue to be one of the leading agricultural entity in the region.

    Of course, it would have been a clear capitalist move, and wouldn’t be consistent with the pathetic, nostalgia-ridden approach of the conservatives then, but it may have worked.

    Now, in order to reach a productivity level of the ‘communist’ era, the present government aiming to go back to feudalism – with quite a good chance to get there.

    Brave new world!

  24. The same György Raskó I quoted yesterday mentioned in the same interview that today Hungarian agriculture is doing a great deal worse than in the 1980s. One trillion forints less. But it maybe euros. I didn’t quite catch the exact wording.

  25. I may have posted this success story before: http://www.vetterhungary.hu/index.php

    This is aGerman family company in Csengele that started in 1993 selling Asparagus (the sandy ground of the Puszta must be perfect for this) and then expanded …

    My favourite product are the “Pimientos tipo Padron”, but it seems they only export them to Germany – at 10 € a kilo they’re probably too expensive for Hungarians, but worth every Cent!

    Pete and spectator are correct – with some products it takes size, but there are also niches for exclusive products like “Bio-anything” …

    Another success story is my neighbour’s son in law. After the end of “socialism” he got from his father and father in law one million HUFeach (quite a sum at that time) and bought some old machines of the local “TSZ” and over the years modernized, reinvesting every Forint …

    Now after more than 20 years he’s doing ok with some modern machines, last year wasn’t so good, but this year prices for sunflower, wheat etc seem to rise so he will be ok I think.

  26. I don’t know much about this stuff either. This agriculture thing always sounded like … work to me. I would rather stick with my keyboard. But. I married into a rich farmer family in the 80s. Yes, during the ancient regime. They were doing extremely well from the grace of Kadar (see also “goulash communism”). Today in the “destroyed Hungarian agriculture” the family is still wealthy. Who knows, this may have something to do with hard work, but I’m not an expert. I had to impress my in-laws a few times with my skills on the land and that usually didn’t work out very well for me. What I hated the most was the peanut harvest. But I digress.

    I don’t think the problem is who owns the land. The problem is the extremely low productivity of the Hungarian agriculture. Compared to western European countries our agricultural export is a lot lower than countries that have a lot less cultivated land. Again, I don’t know nothing about it, but to me it seems this is because the FIDESZ is pushing this romantic “traditional” model (remember the one house – one sow idea) instead of modern cooperatives. Another idiotic time travel back to the past away from Europe.

  27. Eva S. Balogh :
    Off topic but I recommend it everybody who knows Hungarian. István Tarlós, mayor of Budapest, was Olga Kálmán’s guest today on “Egyenes beszéd.” This is how a Hungarian “gentleman” behaves. And a Hungarian “politician”behaves! he announced that Olga Kálmán’s IQ is too low to understand his words.
    What I don’t understand why they keep inviting these characters back. Politicians in other countries are happy if they get invited by the members of the media while in Hungary they behave like this. Here is the link;
    http://atv.hu/cikk/video-20121018_tarlos_istvan

    OV did that to a Hungarian reported in Luxembourg..

  28. petofi :
    This is somewhat tangential to the discussion but does pertain to ‘development’ in Hungary…it’s regarding the Hungarian Kayak Association asking the Serbs to pay $150,000 to authorize the move of Natasa Janics to Serbia.
    Is this standard procedure in the world of sport?
    I’ve never heard of a Canadian Olympic Athlete moving to another country and the Canadian Association asking for any money.
    Seems like another disgusting example of Hungarian
    greed-grab…

    It’s done for Jr. hockey players moving to the NHL. It’s called paying for player development

  29. Pete H. :
    Where I live, western Massachusetts, there are small farms that do very well by growing speciality crops (tomatillos, heirloom tomatoes, asparagus, regional varieties of apples, etc.).

    Ha! The Hungarian culinary palette is so narrow and limited, you’d go broke growing these kinds of things here. Potatoes, cabbage, carrots and onions. That’s about it! I have never, ever seen a leafy green vegetable here.

  30. Slightly OT

    Somebody noticed that Kapuvari Hus Zrt. (pig slaughterhouse) went bankrupt. I know from a close source that there is a lot of outstanding balances with pig farmers. I wonder how many will hang themselves, and this government will be blamed for this.

    On a note that farmers could do well in a nice market would be okay, if they could speak foreign languages and export their products abroad. Unfortunately, with most of them this is not the case. Ergo the exporters will make the bucks.

    In Hungary the market is no longer big enough for these niche products.

  31. Spectator: “Maybe worth to remember, that the Hungarian agriculture were the most effective when it was worked on industrial scale – before they attempted to re-privatize, cutting to hundred little pieces with hundred individual little owners, in the name of ‘historical justice’.”

    Not exactly correct. See a good recent study from Hungary regarding the subject:

    “http://kgk.sze.hu/images/dokumentumok/elekroniusfolyoirat/BognarAttila.pdf

  32. Louis Kovach :
    Spectator: “Maybe worth to remember, that the Hungarian agriculture were the most effective when it was worked on industrial scale – before they attempted to re-privatize, cutting to hundred little pieces with hundred individual little owners, in the name of ‘historical justice’.”
    Not exactly correct. See a good recent study from Hungary regarding the subject:
    “http://kgk.sze.hu/images/dokumentumok/elekroniusfolyoirat/BognarAttila.pdf

    It seems to be interesting. Do you have this in English or a summary in English.

  33. @Ron
    I guess, the biggest problem isn’t just the lack of languages, but the lack of will to cooperate with each other. It mostly understandable knowing the history of the forced collectivization of lands, which may result some reservation toward the whole idea, making the ‘same’ thing voluntarily, but there isn’t really much to chose. Either you do it and may be able to turn things more profitable, or you selling out to one of the bigger ones, and feel lucky if they employ you.

    In order to become a successful ‘smallholder’ you really need special products, high quality, organic fruits and vegetables is what certainly is increasingly growing demand – read wolfi’s comment.

    In those parts of Europe – west – where people weren’t burdened with history and Fidesz, they indeed working together, sometimes even investing together, and nearly always members of bigger agricultural organizations, which in turn can give them better conditions to buy what they need and sell what they produce.

    Unfortunately we are quite a long way from there.

  34. Spectator I agree with your comments and also Wolfi’s. But currently, there is no market in Hungary for these niche products.

    OT anecdote
    A friend of mine was a consultant for a potato factory in The Netherlands, and came to Hungary to consult farmers on how to grow potatoes for the Dutch market. Mind you this was 1992-1993. That year was remarkable good and close for the harvest he went to all the farmers to make a schedule when potatoes need to be shipped to The Netherlands. The potato factory was paying for everything, the seeds, in some cases equipment, and the consultant (my friend). according to him he had some 30 farmers he consulted.

    Of these farmers about 10 of them did not want to give the potatoes to factory, as they could get a higher price somewhere else, and compensate the factory for the loss, if any. A lawyer stated to him that he could do nothing, except going to court, which would take years. Quite depressed was drinking in his favorite hang out, and told this story to barman. Another guest came to him and asked him how much it was worth to him to get the potatoes. He named his price. Within one week all these potatoes were shipped to Holland. According to some people he know apparently this guy was a policeman, and the police force with sirens came to farmers door, explaining he should deliver these potatoes.

    Second part was that another 10 farmers received new harvesting machines from Canada. But apparently, they did not know how to use it, or they did not give a damn, and more than half of it was not usable.

    He told his story to the Dutch factory. Next year they went to another country.

  35. @Luis
    The study what you referring to actually isn’t about the whole agricultural productivity, but rather about – I guess is – a special Hungarian solution, when families already has had a possibility, that besides of working in a collective they were able to work their own patch of land too. The author actually feel sorry about of the abandonment of a working model:

    “One-legged Hungarian agriculture model or where has market garden gone?”

    However, the the production figures of the Hungarian agriculture as a whole is still a far cry from – even the eighties as Eva added.

    Interestingly in another article Attila Bognar wrote:

    “According to a survey made on the turn of 1991-1992, 96% of the contemporary farmers did not want to be an individual enterpreneur. The change of political system – again, against their will – herded the peasants out from the cooperatives.

    We all feel he consequences on our own hide.

    So let us be thankful for the eliminators of communist dictatorship!

    (Egy 1991-1992 fordulóján készült felmérés szerint a korabeli gazdák 96%-a nem szeretett volna önállósulni. A rendszerváltás tehát – ismét akarata ellenére – kiterelte a parasztságot a szövetkezetekből.

    A következményt ki-ki a saját bőrén érzi.

    Legyünk hát hálásak a kommunista diktatúrát felszámoló rendszerváltóknak!)

  36. @Rons OT
    Actually, by living abroad since awhile I have similarly depressing information regarding the Hungarian’s sense of business-obligations…

    By the other hand, if you think of – say a dozen – farmers with ecological product they may afford to employ a full time business manager who could take care of the export to The Netherlands, or wherever!
    I certainly would try this model, if I was in their shoes.

  37. spectator :
    @Rons OT
    Actually, by living abroad since awhile I have similarly depressing information regarding the Hungarian’s sense of business-obligations…
    By the other hand, if you think of – say a dozen – farmers with ecological product they may afford to employ a full time business manager who could take care of the export to The Netherlands, or wherever!
    I certainly would try this model, if I was in their shoes.

    I would do the same thing. Unfortunately, in Hungary people tend to be very quickly jealous about the green grass of the neighbor..

  38. Paul :
    “Petofi, you mean in the genes?”
    I was rather hoping it was a subtle play on words – jeans/farmer…

    As a student of Shakespeare, I revel in triple entendres!

  39. petofi :

    Paul :
    “Petofi, you mean in the genes?”
    I was rather hoping it was a subtle play on words – jeans/farmer…

    As a student of Shakespeare, I revel in triple entendres!

    This isn’t fair for English speakers 🙂 “jeans” is “farmer” in Hungarian. Get it? Oh, I’m so smart. Stop smiling …

  40. In Germany e g the Cooperatives work generally well, of course they have professionals to do the marketing, branding etc. – I can’t understand why this shouldn’t also be possible here.

    Re the success story of my neighbour’s son in law:

    I just heard that he’s done such a good business with the American company where he buys his machines (maybe it’s John Deere ?) that he was invited (a whole group of Hungarian farmers actually) to visit the company – including a trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon … He was really impressed, just returned from the USA.

  41. Ron: “It seems to be interesting. Do you have this in English or a summary in English.”

    I have not found an English translation full or abriged. However, the system described existed all over Hungary and not only few specific locations. At that time the “Haztaji” was the only real agricultural economy in Hungary and not the government dictated coops.

  42. farming runs in the blood for hundred of years you can not make a farmer if you give land to some city dweller it will take some generation to learn ,… give it back to their rigthfull owners an you will be surprised at what speed it goes back to record production my friend nagy produced swine and exported them live to germany,he produced seed of chicorea for holland. and fresh fish for the budapest market all before 1945

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