Lázár proposes doubling credit for farmland buyers

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MTI ZOLTÁN MÁTHÉ

As local farmers showed “strong” interest in the auctions of state-owned farmland, and almost the entire HUF 150 bln preferential credit line offered by the Hungarian Development Bank (MFB) to support purchases of these farmlands has been used up, Cabinet Chief János Lázár is proposing the credit line be raised to HUF 300 bln, Lázár said today, according to Hungarian news agency MTI.

Cabinet Chief János Lázár at his press conference today. (Photo: MTI/Zoltán Máthé)

Talking at his weekly press conference, Lázár said that 25,000 hectares of land have been offered at auction so far, 18,000 hectares have been sold, and contracts for payments of HUF 20 bln have been signed, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

Auctions are underway in 19 counties to sell 380,000 hectares of state-owned land to local farmers, MTI said, adding that only local farmers may bid in the auctions.

Critics of the farmland auctions argue that the auctions provide yet another opportunity for “government friendly oligarchs” to increase their wealth.

Reports by Hungarian online dailies origo.hu and nol.hu on the auctions described them as only one bidder showing up, and the auction being closed in a matter of seconds, without a competitive bid being launched.

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