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New land law to prevent foreigners buying farm land, says Orbán

Foreigners will be prevented from purchasing arable land in Hungary under the new land law, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán 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, Orbán told a congress of the youth arm of Hungary's farming federation Magosz in Cegléd.
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, Orbán 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, Orbán said food exports to Russia had increased by 70% 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.