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Hungary farm sector output grows more than 15% in 2008

Output of Hungary's farm sector reached HUF 1,933 billion in 2008, growing 15.2% from the previous year, Agriculture Minister József Gráf said in a report to Parliament on Tuesday. The food sector has been less affected by the crisis and could be a stabilization factor in the management of the crisis, he said.

Farms accounted for 3.7% of GDP, but the rate was closer to 12%-14% including food companies.

Production volume of the sector jumped 27% in 2008 to reach the level in 2004, the highest of the decade.

Crop and garden products sales rose 8.8%. Animal products sales increased 3%, but sales of livestock fell 6.8%. Farm sector investments grew about a quarter last year.

Producer prices fell about 3% in 2008, but prices for livestock and animal products grew about 16%.

Profits of farm companies rose to HUF 113 billion in 2009 from HUF 83 billion in the previous year, based on tax returns.

Stock of loans in the farm sector rose from HUF 327 billion in 2008 to HUF 375 billion in 2009. About one-fifth of the stock was denominated in foreign currency.

Some HUF 426.2 billion in farm subsidies, including residuals from 2007, was paid out in 2008. The original target was HUF 442 billion. (MTI-Econews)