MULTIFUNCTIONALITY AND FARM CONCENTRATION IN HUNGARY PUBLISHEDR. CZIMBALMOS, Györgyi KOVÁCS, A. FEHÉR
In Hungary the concentration of land areas took place between 2005 and 2009 in such a waythat the arable land used by farms of less than 50 hectares declined, while that of larger farms increased.This process was more intensive in private farms. This was equivalent to the loss of 122 000 jobs inagricultural enterprises. In the European Union there was a reduction of 1 658 million Annual Work Unit(12.4%) in those employed in agriculture, between 2003 and 2007. This reduction was 9% in the EU-15countries. In Hungary the decrease was 21% in terms of AWU per 100 hectares of agricultural land. ThisHungarian process may be exacerbated by supports granted for the purchase of machinery aimed atimproving competitiveness, since these payment schemes back up the endeavours of farmers to carry outall farm operations with their own machinery. They then need to utilise this increased capacity, but areunable to do so as other farmers also prefer to make their own investments. This unexploited machinecapacity tends to influence both increases in farm size and, partly due to the latter and partly to thereplacement of live labour, reductions in the number of employees. The proportion of payments made toaid machinery investments for conventional agricultural activities amounted to 13.2% of the resourcesavailable in the Hungarian national rural development programme between 2004 and 2006. During the2007–2013 period 17.7% has been earmarked for this purpose. In order to discover farmer’s motivationand reaction, our survey was carried out in 2008 involving 104 farmers in settlements belonging to threeLEADER action groups located in Heves and Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok counties. On the surveyed farmsthere was a very modest proportion of market-driven, non-agricultural activities ensuring employment.The only really decisive elements of agricultural multifunctionality are heavily supported, non-market-driven activities and functions. Farmers intending to diversify did not consider diversification as a meansof creating jobs for other people. Despite the tensions in their micro-regions due to unemployment, theneed to introduce flexible forms of employment came near the bottom of their list of priorities. Inresponse to another question, they clearly regard this as a task for the central government, and do notfeel that they have any substantial role to play.
AWU, farm concentration, diversification, agricultural employees, farmers motivation, GIS interpretation.