Blue Planet – János Áder and István Nagy discussed the construction of new canals and reservoirs

By: STA Date: 2024. 01. 02. 09:30

In the latest broadcast of his Blue Planet podcast, published on Tuesday, former head of state János Áder discussed the preservation of farmland, water, and ecological diversity with Minister of Agriculture István Nagy.

In a recording taken at the Planet Budapest 2023 Sustainability Expo, the former president of the republic and the head of the ministry emphasized that farmland is a multifaceted ecosystem, and without the fungi, bacteria and other organisms found in it, there is no sufficient quantity and high-quality food. János Áder sees that surface waters are threatened by contamination, and underground waters by over-exploitation. He pointed out that in most parts of the world irrigation technology is bad, food waste is becoming more and more important, every year a forest the size of Italy disappears from the Earth and at least the same amount of soil is destroyed. Confirming this, István Nagy said: it is not enough that “as a result of urbanization and industrial development, we are losing cropland, the quality of the existing cropland is also deteriorating”. The minister justified the creation of the soil monitoring system, which provides a comprehensive picture of the productivity of all parts of the country. He emphasized that all types of soil should be cultivated in the most appropriate way, and that if necessary, farmers should also be prepared for this. He also considers it important that organic matter is not lost from the farmland, everything must be returned to it. Hungary is able to provide basic food for 20 million people, but due to the drastic climate change in the coming years, soil cover must be provided in all production areas, said István Nagy.

János Áder also spoke about the fact that without good absorption of the fertilizer, only a small part of the nitrogen contained in it is utilized by the plants

The rest either becomes a greenhouse gas, or leaks out and pollutes the groundwater, and in addition, improper tillage also worsens the water balance of the soil, while there is less precipitation anyway.

Therefore, water quality is not the most important problem for Hungary – he indicated – since all rivers leave in better condition than when they arrived. The retention and storage of water in the country is a bigger problem, because currently it is not only excess water that is leaving the territory of the country. István Nagy noted that water used to be a danger of flooding, while today the biggest problem is drought, which can be explained by the fact that, in addition to climate change, most of the forests in the catchment areas have been cut down. He pointed out that last year the water yield of the Danube was 40 percent lower, and that of the Tisza 60 percent. He also indicated that, in order to deal with the drought, ecological water replacement should also be dealt with, and inland water should not be seen as a natural disaster, but as a resource. In the coming years, it will be important to raise the groundwater level and increase the irrigable agricultural area from the current barely 90,000 hectares to 500,000 hectares, said the minister, pointing out that the planning of new canals and water reservoirs has begun, and HUF 75 billion will be allocated for the construction of irrigation works. István Nagy emphasized: it is even more important, however, that for the sake of sustainability, everyone starts the change within themselves and does not want to set conditions for others, as many environmental protection movements do. Consumer needs must be reviewed, and the opportunities inherent in the development of technology must be used responsibly for the sake of sustainable production, he added.


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