A good apple harvest is expected this year

By: STA Date: 2023. 09. 28. 09:30

Based on market information, a good apple harvest is expected this year, the amount of which could be 500-550 thousand tons, which is almost double the amount reached last year, during the drought, the Minister of Agriculture said on Thursday in Nagykálló, Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county.

(Photo: AM/István Fekete)

István Nagy said at the opening of the 5th Autumn Welcome charity apple day in Szabolcs: according to the forecasts, 100-120 thousand tons of edible apples can be produced, which will be enough to supply domestic consumers. The amount of industrial apples is expected to be between 400 and 430 thousand tons, which will be enough for 80-90 percent of the domestic processing capacity. The minister reminded: the purchase of industrial apples started in mid-August. Although the purchase prices have increased to a lesser extent, from 38 forints to 44-47 forints in 2022, these prices are not yet suitable to restore the faith of producers and restore the former enthusiasm of producers, he added. He explained that, according to the fruit forecast of the FruitVeb Professional Organization, this amount of apples is grown by slightly more than 4,700 producers in 20,564 hectares of apple orchards. This county traditionally has the largest production area with its more than 15,000 hectares of apple orchards, which is about three quarters of the current production area. In 2006, cultivation took place on an area of 45,000 hectares, this year the farmers are working on less than half of it, but the amount of the crop is approximately the same as seventeen years ago – emphasized István Nagy. According to him, this means that the plantations are constantly renewed, thanks to which the farmers can achieve higher yields, and in the last ten to fifteen years the sector has become much more uniform and efficient than before. The Minister of Agriculture pointed out that the area of new and modern plantations equipped with modern ice and frost protection equipment and irrigation systems is increasing, their share is already around 25 percent.

452,000 cubic meters of cold storage capacity was realized through tenders issued in the framework of rural development grants

In addition, the sector has been expanded with a total of almost 14,000 harvesters, power machines, tractors and other tools supporting gardening activities. As a result of the support for the planting of orchards, 3,000 hectares of new orchards were created, of which 155 producers requested a total of HUF 4.8 billion for the creation of apple orchards for 918 hectares – István Nagy listed. He added that an ice net protection system was built on about 900 hectares and 280 systems to prevent spring frost damage were purchased. In addition, 101 horticultural plants received HUF 6.2 billion in support to improve the energy efficiency of agricultural and processing plants. He said that within the framework of the 2021 Renewable countryside, renewable agriculture rural development program, calls were announced for the horticulture sector with a funding limit of about 1,500 billion forints, with which the producers won a subsidy of about 3.5 billion forints to plant almost 500 hectares of new apple orchards, and it is expected that A new cold store of 38,000 square meters will be established. For the technological renewal of horticultural farms, 2,219 producers will receive HUF 25.9 billion in support, and horticultural farmers also had the opportunity to request support for the purchase of precision farming technologies – he explained. “My good news is that the availability of the necessary tender resources will be ensured in the future within the framework of the common domestic agricultural policy strategy,” said István Nagy. In his speech, the head of the ministry touched on the fact that the most effective way to create the conditions for access to the market is through cooperation and community action, and with this, the stimulation of fruit and vegetable consumption can also be enhanced. Emphasizing the importance of technologies and research, he said: in a modernized sector, the bargaining position of farmers continues to strengthen, so it is possible to win higher prices from buyers, a price that restores faith and is sufficient for producers to see a vision for the future in new, intensive, modern industrial apple orchards for investment. István Nagy asked the regional Fidesz members of parliament, Miklós Simon and Attila Tilki, who were present at the event, to help start an initiative that would allow high school and university students to participate in the autumn apple harvest. “Each year in the middle of September, the students and apprentices should be able to help the agricultural producers, be part of the harvest, because this can achieve enormous benefits both economically and socially,” said István Nagy. In addition to the Minister of Agriculture and the representatives, county chief István Román, György Bölcskei, the owner of Nagykálló TÉSZ, as well as several government officials, public figures, and representatives of county authorities and organizations also participated in the apple day and charity harvest, which was started to help children living in state care.