Fighting drought is a strategic issue

By: STA Date: 2022. 09. 15. 07:58

In addition to Hungary’s climate conditions, the fight against drought is a strategic issue at the level of the national economy, the Minister of Agriculture said on Thursday in Nádudvar.

Nationally, in 2021, farmers irrigated 48.8 percent of the 174,200 hectares of legally authorized irrigable area, a little more than 85 thousand hectares Photo: Pixabay)

István Nagy mentioned among the most important tasks at the meeting organized as part of KITE’s irrigation and tillage presentation, making the canal network that has historically developed in the country suitable and passable for irrigation, as well as the establishment of new, large-capacity reservoirs.

According to the head of the ministry, it is also necessary to raise the groundwater level

Speaking about this year’s drought, he said that extraordinary times require extraordinary solutions in agriculture as well. “More than a fifth of domestic farmland simply dried up,” and the problem affected so many farmers that deep and wide-ranging measures were immediately necessary, he added. He reminded her that the drought emergency operational team made immediate decisions. As part of the five-point package of measures, they decided on a loan moratorium, which agricultural enterprises can use for their investment and working capital loans until the end of 2023. He mentioned that livestock farmers in trouble will be provided with a HUF 3 billion feed delivery budget, and additional subsidies of HUF 1.4 billion will be given to support the increased energy costs of state irrigation works.

The state supports producers in several ways

István Nagy mentioned as the latest tool that, with a maximum interest subsidy of 14 percent, they want to lower the annual interest rate of the Agrár Széchenyi Card overdraft to 3 percent for plant growers with drought damage certified by government agencies, as well as for all livestock keepers. Small producers are supported with a non-refundable amount of HUF 5-6 million – he indicated. The Minister of Agriculture said that the change aimed at increasing the efficiency of drought protection and rational and economical water management, which will make agricultural land available for areas valuable for the environment, climate protection and biodiversity in the framework of the Common Agricultural Policy (KAP) starting from 2023 basic support. According to their calculations, this amendment will encourage farmers on more than 100,000 hectares to preserve the forest strips protecting the fields, the meadows, the coastal strips of watercourses, and their wet or salty areas, he explained. István Nagy touched on the efforts made to develop irrigation farming, mentioning that self-irrigation communities were created and irrigation investments worth tens of billions of forints were realized.

The realization of sustainability is an important task

István Nagy indicated that it is still possible to apply for the grant announced for the development of the agricultural water management sector. So far, 765 producers have received about HUF 50 billion in support under this title. He called it good news that between 2023 and 2027, based on the strategic plan of the Common Agricultural Policy, even more resources than before, around HUF 70 billion, will be allocated to the development of irrigation farming. The head of the ministry drew the attention of the hundreds of farmers present that, due to periods of extreme drought, more and more emphasis must be placed on farming in accordance with the principles of sustainability, such as no-rotation tillage or agrotechnological elements that help water retention, which they also support.

István Nagy spoke highly of KITE Zrt. in Nádudvar, which during its developments focused on irrigation “not only as an independent agrotechnical element, but also soil cultivation and nutrient supply.


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