Time is up for hobby horticulture – Zsendülés conference in Szeged, 5-6 March 2020

By: Tisza Andrea Date: 2020. 05. 22. 10:01

The 6th Zsendülés conference was organised in Hotel Forrás in Szeged. József Rácz, president of Kert-Ész Club Association welcomed participants, and his speech was followed by presentations about the state of play in horticulture and the sector’s macroeconomic environment. Dr Zsolt Feldman, state secretary of agriculture and rural development in the Ministry of Agriculture revealed: since 2014 nearly 5,000 funding applications from the horticulture sector were granted HUF 103 billion worth of EU money, from which HUF 43.9 billion has already been paid.

Raymund Petz, managing director of GKI Economic Research Zrt. told that Hungary’s economic growth is now consumption-driven, and import is growing faster than export. Hungary’s food industry has been on a steady growth path since 2010, but agriculture is only developing with ups and downs. Futurist and sociologist Ákos Kozák talked about forecasts for 2050. Mr Kozák said that we are at the dawn of vegetable-based eating and added that the next 10 years will be characterised by the interaction of trends.

A roundtable discussion followed, with the participation of the speakers, plus Gergely Papp – deputy director general of the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture (NAK) and Ferenc Ledó – president of the Interprofessional Organisation for Fruit and Vegetable (FruitVeB). Mr Papp told that the VAT cut would be crucial for businesses in the horticulture sector. Mr Ledó explained that horticulture is the kind of segment where lots of money needs to be invested and returns are slow – in his view this means that predictability and reliability would be absolutely necessary in the sector.

Túllépett az idő a hobbikertészeteken-Zsendülés

Work continued in the next section by successful horticultural enterprises introducing themselves. Sándor Baja, managing director of Randstad Hungary Kft. closed the morning session by introducing Generation Z (18-24 year old) consumers. This generation values diversity and tolerance.

Another roundtable discussion came next, with the participation of the experts mentioned above, plus István Tresó – the head of K&H’s agricultural sector development division and Dr Péter Nagy – control coordinator of the National Tax and Customs Administration’s (NAV) South Great Plain Region tax directorate.

After lunch Nielsen’s market leader Ágnes Szűcs-Villányi gave a presentation in the retail trade section. Research by Nielsen has found that the fruit and vegetable selection a shop offers is a decisive store choice factor for shoppers. It is important for 50 percent of consumers to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Last year they spent 11 percent more on these categories than a year before. One third of shoppers go to discount supermarkets for buying fruits and vegetables. Beáta Szőke, salesperson of Apimex Budapest Kft. summarised market changes. She talked about the many requirements horticulture businesses must meet, from regulations through traceability to quality assurance.

Miklós Nagy, secretary general of the Hungarian Association of Packaging and Materials Handling (CSAOSZ) talked about the new packaging regulations that are likely to enter into force in January 2021, which will ban the use of polystyrene. Participants then talked about how horticultural enterprises should be braver in developing new products. Since the government has earmarked funds for investing in development in the sector, businesses should join forces and create the conditions for establishing modern enterprises instead of hobby horticulture businesses.

The day ended with dietitian Emese Antal, director of TÉT Platform Association talking about nutritional misconceptions, and Norbert Madaras, Olympic champion water polo player and president of the water polo club Ferencváros speaking about the role conscious eating plays in the success of Hungarian water polo teams. In the evening there was a Gala Dinner where the Zsendülés Awards were presented, while the following day participants had the opportunity to visit the orchards of Hunapfel Kft. and the greenhouses of Hódkertész Kft. (x)

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