Transformation of agriculture in Hungary in the period 1990‑2020

Studia Obszarów Wiejskich (2020)
Tom 56
Strony: 33-72
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This paper aspires to provide a thorough overview of the transformation of the Hungarian agricultural sector from 1990 through to 2020. After a brief historical outline, three decades of changes and the present state are discussed in the context of the legislative framework, farm and ownership structure, production structure, land use and ecological sustainability. The changing role played by agriculture in the Hungarian economy and rural societies is also taken into consideration, while the overarching effects of EU accession and the introduction of the CAP are also investigated. The establishment of a legislative framework for privatisation and compensation in respect of the former collectivisation proved one of the major challenges during the transition to a market economy. As a result, this evened out the shares of all agricultural land in private and legal holdings in the first decade, with the number of smallholders exceeding one million. However, the following two decades were characterised by concentration, as the overall number of private holdings fell quickly, while there was an increase in numbers of those with more than 10 ha of utilised agricultural land. Hungary’s political and economic transition was followed immediately by a dramatic decline in terms of production output. However, after the initial plunge, crop production started to rise again rapidly, so that by the early 2000s it had surpassed what had been achieved during the communist era. In contrast, the crisis in livestock production proved to be more prolonged.

Centre for Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
H-6000 Kecskemét P.O. Box 261, Hungary