New land law to prevent foreigners buying arable land, says PM Orban

Budapest, October 13 (MTI) – Foreigners will be prevented from purchasing arable land in Hungary under the new land law, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Saturday.

The new legislation will help annul simulated contracts through which foreign nationals obtained plots earlier, it will protect Hungary’s soil from speculation, and will put a limit on large estates, Orban told a congress of the youth arm of Hungary’s farming federation Magosz in Cegled (C).


The land law will implement significant changes in Hungary’s agriculture and create a modern farming sector. It will modify the proportions of estates with the aim of strengthening middle-size holdings, Orban said.


The prime minister said the rural development ministry should lease even more land to farmers, and noted that the government’s land lease scheme had multiplied the number of land users by 20 times in western Hungary and 45 times in the south.


Concerning the agriculture component of the government’s opening to the east policy, Orban said food exports to Russia had increased by 70 percent during the past two years. “This is our opening to the east… we need to sell what we produce,” he said.


The prime minister said he considered farmers a “vigorous” component of the nation, adding that the government will launch a programme for young farmers in 2013. He said that the government was offering an alliance to the young generation and urged them to “occupy the provinces without which there is no future”.


Opposition Socialist MP Zoltan Gogos, however, told MTI in a statement that the prime minister’s claim that foreign nationals would be prevented from purchasing land was no more than a “communication bluff”.


Gogos insisted that the land law proposal, if passed into law, would not put any limitations on foreigners already running joint venture farms in Hungary, and it would not help Hungarians employed on those farms to land of their own.