Hungarian Horticultural Situation and Outlook
The overall economic situation in Hungary has been declining over the last several years. Purchasing power, horticultural prices, production, and exports have been decreasing. Hungary is currently in accession negotiations with the European Union (EU) with hopes of improving its economic situation.
Production Trends: Hungarian horticultural production has been decreasing over the past several years as a result of the consolidation through privatization, private investment, joint ventures in the early years, lack of investment capital, and a slumping economic situation over the past several years. As purchasing power declined, consumers bought less, resulting in a decline in production.
Approximately one-third of Hungarys production is used for the fresh market, one-third for processing, and one-third for export. Hungarys most important products are apples, cherries (especially tart), melons, raspberries, winegrapes, mushrooms, peppers, lettuce, cabbage, corn, and onions, which are known for their high quality and taste. Hungarian producers may shift focus to redeveloping the domestic market so that they do not lose out to import competition.
As part of the accession negotiations, Hungary has been restructuring its agriculture industry to conform with EU regulations and administration methods. For example, it has formed united producer groups through which the limited pre-accession EU support is being channeled, mainly for infrastructure development (i.e., cold storage facilities), which should help improve the situation.
Trade: Trade in horticultural products has declined due to the economic situation. Hungary has focused its export efforts on apples, tart cherries, melons, mushrooms, peppers, and raspberries. Organic production had been identified as a key export opportunity but with limited production. Hungary has a preferential tariff agreement with the EU and Hungarys largest export markets for its horticultural products are Germany, Scandinavia, and the United Kingdom.
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