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Hungary: with Declining Export Opportunities Domestic Market Grows

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

At the end of the 1990s, the significance of domestic processing of organic products in Hungary increased dramatically. The reduction in export opportunities and the increasing interest of Hungarian consumers contributed to this trend. The number of processing plants increased by more than 12 between 1998 and 2003, and the portfolio of domestically produced products has also expanded. Several segments of the consumer market are being targeted, and organic products seem to be shedding their "alternative" image.


Picture: Bio Csemege in Budapest

More and more traditional Hungarian foods are being manufactured to organic standards (mangalica meat, salami and sausages). Even some convenience goods are on offer as organic products. There were 153 certified organic processors in Hungary at the end of 2004. Among the most important are Hipp (baby food), Virágoskút Kft, Kőrös-Maros Biofarm Kft, Varga Ökogazdaság Első Híd, Robiol, Rege, Galgafarm, Cebra and Rai Vini.

Besides the companies who manufacture products mainly for alternative dietary habits, a number of large conventional companies have also developed an organic line (e.g. Pick AG.)
On-farm processing is, however, of little significance. Only about 2.5 % of organic farmers process their own milk, meat or fruit and vegetables, and 6 % of businesses produce wine.


Organic Agriculture: Strong Growth in Recent Years

Hungary is still an agricultural country; the total farmed land area is around 5.8 million hectares. In 2001, this sector employed 6 % of the labour force and produced over 4 % of the gross domestic product.

Amount of organic farmland and number of organic farms (2003)


‘in conversion’ area (ha) organic area (ha) total inspected area (ha)
Arable land  23,990 30,420 54,410
Permanent pastures and meadows  15,149 33,533 48,682
Permanent crops  1,294 1,056 2,350
Other areas utilized by agriculture  3,066 5,308 8,374
Total  43,499 70,317 113,816

Organic agricultural production in Hungary has experienced  strong growth during 2004. The organic land area has risen by 13 % to 129,000 ha, which is slightly more than two percent of total agricultural land. The area of permanent grassland grew most (22 %), and the area under arable crops rose to 62,000 ha. The land devoted to cultivating animal feed crops rose from 9,834 ha to 19,774 ha. The size of the organic area on which cereals and especially corn were cultivated rose as well, though organic wheat cropping decreased.


Organic pig and poultry production grew by 72 % and 58 % respectively, and cattle keeping grew by 12 %. This is also reflected in the higher fodder production. The organic stock of goats, sheep and horses, however, has been reduced. Between 2003 and 2004 the number of organic operators grew by 22.9 %.


Most organic farms are situated in the North and South Alföld regions, as well as in the north of Hungary. Most of Hungary’s organic land is located in the sub-regions of Komárom and Baranya. The average farm size in Hungary is 23.56 ha.


The main crops grown organically are wheat, spelt, barley, sunflowers and oilseeds. Cattle keeping and sheep production are the most significant types of organic animal husbandry. Organic poultry, however, have decreased in importance. In addition, there were also 177 Hungarian bee keepers in 2003, managing a total of 114,466 bee colonies organically.


Basic Facts about Hungary


Population 9.9 million
Area 93,000 km²
Capital City Budapest
GDP (2004) Euro 55.6 billion
GDP Growth 3.5 %
Unemployment 5.5 %
Agriculture Products pork, maize, wheat, vegetables




Virágoskút Kft
Production: juices, milk, cheese, poultry, mangalica meat, canned products: jams, all under the Virágoskút brand
Address: 4060 Balmazújváros,
Contact person: Rózsa Péter
Telephone: +36-52-580-688


Kőrös-Maros Biofarm Kft   
Production: UHT organic milk 1.5% and 2.8%, organic sour cream, kefir, yoghurt
Address: Külterület 2.   5711 Gyula,
Contact person: Dr.Ráki Ferenc
Telephone: +36-66-460-914


Varga Ökogazdaság
Production: Parm art. “mangalica” ham (pork), sausages seasoned with low natrium, wheat flour, pastry
Address: 2682 Püspökhatvan, Tulipán u.
Contact person: Ferenc Moór 



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