Hungary is building GMO-free agriculture, and insists that unknown technologies should not endanger Hungarian society without being tested, the Agriculture Minister said at a hearing in front of the Committee on Sustainable Development of the Hungarian Parliament on Monday.
István Nagy recalled that the European Commission published the draft legislation on new gene manipulation techniques and the related impact assessment in July. The minister explained that climate change is leading to the emergence of new pathogens and pests, against which there are no effective active substances. There is one view suggesting that chemical substances and methods should be used to control them, while the other side considers that biological means and genetic engineering should be used. Nagy drew attention to the third option. He said that by reaching back to the Hungarian gene bank we could find varieties that could be suitable for such challenges.
The minister called the creation of the third National Biodiversity Strategy a major achievement of the year. The strategy aims to address the challenges of biodiversity conservation, taking into account national specificities and in line with international and EU commitments. “Biodiversity contributes greatly to improving the quality of life, preserving health, and protecting the national natural heritage, while it is also essential for economic activities based on natural resources,” he stressed.
Speaking about nature conservation investments, the Agriculture Minister said that
465 projects worth more than HUF 90 billion (EUR 238.5 million) had been implemented since 2010, improving the condition of habitats on more than 300,000 hectares and ensuring the development of infrastructure for nature conservation management.
Nagy pointed out that
a proposal to strengthen the protection of agricultural land had already been submitted to parliament.
The proposal says that the price of land taken for industrial use will be three times higher than before.
The minister stressed that the role of forests and national parks had been enhanced. “During the pandemic, people understood the importance of protecting them, and the historic drought had made everyone aware of the need to respond to changes in nature and climate, mostly caused by human activity,” he noted.
He also reminded the committee that the government had decided to launch the largest afforestation program in the country. At the same time, he emphasized that any nature conservation intervention or program is only successful if it can find participants and partners.
Via MTI, Featured image: Pixabay