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Univer pledges 100% Hungarian paprika use despite poor crop

“Thanks” to a March-October growing season bookended by unseasonably cold weather and culminating in a death blow of frost in southern Hungary in early October, the country’s total paprika yield is expected to be down 40% in some regions.

Nevertheless, Univer Kft CEO Károly Molitórisz yesterday promised to keep his paprika-based condiments comprised of 100% Hungarian-grown produce.

Molitórisz explained that the Paks-based company will be able to make up a combined 3,400 tons of paprika and bell peppers from smaller farms in the Kecskemét area. The tonnage will be “just enough to tide the company over until the next harvest,” according to Molitorisz.

The announcement of the weather’s deleterious effect on the Hungarian paprika crop came last week and had local media reckoning that importation of the national product would be necessary to create some of the country’s favorite foodstuffs and spices. Regional news outlet Dél Magyar quoted Paprika Molnár Kft owner Albert Molnár thusly: “I’ve been working these fields since 1963 and of those 50 years I can recall only one harvest as bad as this.”A rise of at least 10% in price on ground paprika is expected across the board in Hungary; Rubin Szegedi Paprikafeldolgozó Kft. executive director Lajos Szokol was quoted as hoping the increase occurs because “If we cannot enforce our pricing, we will be in trouble.”