hungaryHungary is a relatively small, landlocked country located in Central Europe. Its capital is Budapest, and the population is almost 10 million. Hungary, considered a developed country, joined the European Union in 2004. Its official language is Magyar. The country is famous for its thermal cave system including lakes, which is the largest in the world. Hungary hosts the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia. The country is administratively divided into 19 counties, which are sub-divided into 174 sub-regions. There are 169 towns and 2,904 villages. Hungary has seven geographical regions. In terms of climate, summers are hot with frequent showers, although without high humidity, while winters are mild with snow falls.   

Context

Context

The agricultural sector of Hungary, which once used to contribute up to 17 per cent to the national GDP, has been declining since the late 1980s and especially during the 1990s; both the production and employment levels have gone down. Over the years, the number of small individual farms (706,877 in 2005, with average production income of about € 2,000) has been decreasing while the number of agricultural corporations has been increasing (233,703 in 2005), with average production income of about € 220,000 per corporation. Main food crops grown are maize, wheat, barley, pulses, potatoes, chili, garlic, fruits, and aromatic and medicinal plants. Cash crops include sunflower, sugar beet, fiber plants and tobacco. Although the livestock sector has also been declining, yet less than agriculture. The animals raised include cattle, sheep, horses, pigs and poultry. Hungary exports farm machinery and equipment, food preserves, dairy products and seeds of maize and sunflower. Hungarian agricultural companies are exploring huge new markets such as in Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Some of the causes for the decline of the agricultural sector have been identified as the loss of guaranteed Soviet Union market, reduced purchasing power of people, competition with imported commodities, removal of government subsidies, high prices of inputs, collapse of many agricultural enterprises, and the selling or renting out of land to investors by new owners out of frustration caused by a lack of farming knowledge. The use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) is prohibited in Hungary. Recently (2013), the Hungarian government literally burned 1,000 acres of corn crop which had used genetically modified seed allegedly supplied by the multinational seed company Monsanto.

Agricultural development in Hungary cannot be conceived without appropriate, parallel rural development. According to 2003 data, 87 per cent of the country qualified as rural, that included 96 per cent of the settlements providing home for 47 per cent of the population.

Key Statistics and Indicators

Indicator

Value

Year  

Agricultural land (sq. km)

Agricultural land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares)

Arable land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares per person)

53,370

58.95

4,395,000

48.54

0.44

2011

2011

2011

2011

2011

Fertilizer consumption (kg per hectare of arable land)

78.34

2010

Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)

Food production index (2004-2006 = 100)

Food exports (% of merchandise exports)

Food imports (% of merchandise imports)

3.52

88.2

8.94

4.95

2010

2011

2012

2012

GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)

12,370

2012

Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)

Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)

Literacy rate, youth male (% of males ages 15-24)

Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)

Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)

99.04

99.04

98.78

100.25

97.72

2010

2010

2010

2010

2011

Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)

Internet users (per 100 people)

116.38

72

2012

2012

Population, total

Population density (people per sq. km of land area)

Rural population

Rural population (% of total population)

Agricultural population (% of total population)*

Total economically active population

Total economically active population in agriculture*

Total economically active population in agriculture (in %

    of total economically active population)

Female economically active population in agriculture (% of

     total economically active population in agriculture)*

9,943,755

110.14

2,992,414

30.09

0.84

4,317,149

322,000

7.45

29.31

2012

2011

2012

2012

2010

2011

2010

2010

2010

Sources: The World Bank; *Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO

Acknowledgements

  • Authored by M. Kalim Qamar (October 2013)
  • Edited by Burton E. Swanson