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The Budapest Sun

Land for Pensions Offer
1122 Budapest
Maros utca 12, II. em.
 Budapest, Hungary

Phone: (36-1) 489-4343

Fax: (36-1) 489-4344

To submit a Letter to the Editor: editor@bpsun.hu

 Farmers have demonstrated in the past because of stringent EU [European Union] requirements, difficult farming conditions, complicated and expensive bank loans and low government subsidies.
Many of the older farmers who received land in return for so-called compensation coupons (for land that was confiscated during Communism) have now surrendered themselves to the government's alternative scheme where above the age of 60 they are entitled to swap agricultural land for a pension.

The decision is part of Hungary's National Rural Development Plan (NVT).
The deadline for the state's third land for pension program, launched in the end of May, will be on August 27.
"Originally the deadline was 60 days, but the state decided to extend this by another 30 days, which expires on August 27," Gabor Halasz, a spokesman for the agriculture land for life annuity program at the National Land Fund Organisation (NFA), part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FVM).
In the first program the state acquired 9,500 hectares, signing 3,458 agreements and paid out an average Ft34,000 ($170) per month per owner.
For the second program (started in November 2003) the NFA received 11,000 offers, with total land area three times the size and cost of that acquired in the first program.

Halasz added that citizens above 60 who own at least one hectare (10,000sqm) up to a maximum of 20 hectares worth no more than Ft3 million ($14,970) may "sell" their land to the state in exchange for the pension.

He said that if an owner swaps their land, but passes away, the remaining pension can be inherited, but only the cash sum of what the land is worth.

For example a three hectare plot and would give an annuity of at least Ft30,000 ($150) per month. "Agricultural land owners with less than one hectare [down to a minimum area of 3,000sqm] can also sell their land to the state this year, providing its value is at least Ft100,000, ($499) " he said, Laszlo Tomor, chairman of the NFA, said that the procedure of the program has been simplified and the more complex written proposal and follow up procedure is now merely one document - a binding price offer in the form of a purchase and sale contract already authorized with the official signature and seal of the NFA. If the seller agrees to the terms in the contract they need only sign the agreement and the deal is set.

Zoltan Miko, Deputy Chairman, of the NFA, said applications to lease land taken by the government under the pension scheme are evaluated via a 100-point scale, of which the leasing price offer composes 30 points. He added that more points are allocated to local, educated farmers equipped with modern farming machinery.

Individual plots of 50 hectares can be contracted from the government for a minimum of 60 months, up to a maximum of 120 months, and foreigners may also apply, providing the land is to be used for agricultural purposes.
Copyright 2004, The Budapest Sun
Related, researched, recommended reading:
EU gives 754 million-euro rural plan green light
July 29, 2004
No author provided at originating website.
The Budapest Sun
 1122 Budapest
Maros utca 12, II. em.
 Budapest, Hungary

Phone: (36-1) 489-4343

Fax: (36-1) 489-4344
To submit a Letter to the Editor: editor@bpsun.hu
The European Union's Committee on Agricultural Structures (STAR) has given the go-ahead for the 754.14 million-euro Hungarian Rural Development Plan.
It will formally approve the decision in August.

The plan earmarks the sum for Hungarian rural developments between 2004 and 2006.

Nearly 80% (602.3 million euro) will arrive from the EU and the remainder from the Hungarian central budget.
The development plan includes a wide range of [legal and binding] instruments required to boost the income and earnings of the rural Magyar population, develop and keep workplaces and promotes environmental friendly agricultural development projects.

Other goals include the best use of agricultural land and landscape management.
One of the key aims is to inspire farmers to start subsistence farming to increase economic competitiveness and help develop "producer clusters".

Franz Fischler, European Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, said "The (STAR) rural development plan carries a clear message to encourage the Hungarian rural population.
"Thus, the EU is fully committed to promoting sustainable development to make the [Hungarian] agricultural sector more competitive, create new workplaces and increasing the income of the rural population."

The rural development program pays special attention to the underdeveloped rural regions, offering compensation subsidies and guarantees to help sustain competitiveness in rural towns.

But it also demands [that] the rural population satisfy EU standards in the areas of animal health care and environmental protection, and calls for an increase in forest areas to develop and improve the quality and quantity of the environment.

Above all, the program calls for quality production in the agricultural sector and the regional development plan also contains a clause to permit farmers retirement at the age of 55, in a bid to encourage the development of a new generation of farmers.

The program in Hungary will be carried out and supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FVM).
Copyright 2004, The Budapest Sun





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