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Nagy: Farmers Need Equal Access to Digitalisation Opportunities

MTI-Hungary Today 2019.01.21.

Taking part in the Global Food and Agriculture Forum (GFFA) in Berlin, Hungary’s farm minister said all farmers should be able to take equal advantage of the opportunities arising from the revolutionising of agriculture through digitalisation.

István Nagy told MTI at the world’s largest agricultural fair that digitalisation is leading to sweeping changes in the sector. The state, he said, can build the basic infrastructure for digitalisation, and in this respect Hungary “is on the right track” as it starts to implement 5G networks. But economies of scale are also an important factor, he added. Returns on digital investments are starkly different for large-scale agribusinesses compared to small farms, “so we also need to look at how to ensure equal opportunities,” Nagy said. Digitalisation helps to boost productivity and meet consumer expectations, he said. Produce can also be tracked from farm to table. Also, it helps in the fight against climate change, he added.

Meanwhile, on the topic of negotiations within the framework of International Green Week, which is being held in parallel to the GFFA, Nagy noted that more and more European countries are involved in GMO-free soybean cultivation, with Switzerland signing the European Soya Declaration spearheaded by Hungary, Germany and Austria. Switzerland, he added, is seen as a leader in environmental protection, and so its signing up to the declaration would add force to Hungary’s efforts in the vanguard of creating GMO-free agriculture.

In 2015, Hungary announced the Alliance for a GMO-free Europe, and the resulting European Soya Declaration was signed in July 2017 by 14 EU member states. In the meantime, many other countries have joined the declaration, he said.

Nagy said European farming, especially animal husbandry, is heavily dependent on GMO soya imports from South America. The signatory countries pledged to encourage the cultivation of GMO-free soya and other pea plants for feed.