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Hungarian Government Considers Selling State-Owned Lands To Farmers

Tamás Székely 2015.08.28.

The Hungarian government has asked minister of agriculture Sándor Fazekas and the National Land Fund to put together a plan on the sale of approximately 300,000 to 380,000 hectares of state land. Cabinet chief János Lázár said the government has set strict rules regarding the sale, such as prohibiting the sale of protected nature reserves and forests but allowing the sale of orchards, plough lands or grasslands. He said the lands could only be sold to local Hungarian farmers.

The government will offer for sale publically plots smaller than 3 hectares and hold open auctions for larger plots. Buyers must be farmers who are Hungarian citizens and reside locally. The reserve price at the auctions will be set at 10% above the local market price. If the reserve is not met, the land will not be sold. State-owned land that is currently being leased by farmers will also be put up for sale, but land lease contracts will not be affected by the sales. Farmers who have, for at least three years, worked leased land that is put up for auction will have pre-emption rights for the land, but must match the winning bid.

Buyers will be limited to purchasing 300 hectares of state land and they may not sell the land to any party other than the state for 20 years. State-owned development bank MFB will be instructed to provide buyers of the land with subsidised loans with runs up to 20 years with a 2.5% maximum interest rate. The Ministry of Agriculture is currently taking steps to organise sales and the first auctions could take place before the end of the year, Lázár said. Income from sales will be channelled into a development fund, he added.

via and MTI photo: public domain