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Imre Kovách, Institute of Sociology, HAS CSS


Topic: The concentration of land use and family farming in Hungary


Concentration of land use structure after land re-privatization became significant from the beginning of the 1990s to accession to the European Union in 2004, according to both historical and international comparisons. The extreme size of the concentration is characterized by the fact that the largest 1300 farms use one third of the agricultural area and that 8700 farms cultivate two thirds of the arable land. Concentration of land use and land ownership is a consequence of legal regulation and implementation of land reparation, the rapid and radical reduction of agricultural subsidies, and a series of political interventions. After 2010, the political program of selling state-owned land and the landing of individual farms did not significantly change the overwhelming dominance of large farms. The number of land users is radically decreasing. Two decades ago, 1.5 million families were involved in some form of farming, while by 2016, 1 million farmers left agricultural production, and this is one origin of rural poverty and polarized agricultural society. 16,000 farms, with only one hundred thousand employees, use three quarters of the agricultural area. In addition to the large owners, some ten thousand individual farms and four hundred thousand very small ​​producers represent the most important groups in the agricultural society,

This paper presents the determinants and periods of land concentration, the most important groups in the Hungarian agricultural sector and the dynamics of the development of family farms, new forms of new knowledges in technical modernisation of farming. It analyses the impact of land use on the local society, political and socio-cultural barriers influencing land management, land ownership and local power relations, as land use management impacts local social relations. The analysis uses survey containing data of  380 000 farms and results qualitative case studies.

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