A new, 4.5 billion forint fund had been made available to help young farmers start up new businesses", Minister of State for Rural Development Zsolt V. Németh announced at a press conference held in the Ministry of Rural Development.

Young farmers could apply for funding, which is still derived from the 2007-2013 programming period, during the first two weeks in May, Mr. Németh added. Over 2900 young farmers aged 18-40 applied to receive non-refundable funding up to a maximum of 40 thousand Euros.

 

Around 500 applicants are expected to be awarded funding. According to the Minister of State, it may also be possible to redirect unused monies from other sectors to this area, as demand was extremely high, exceeding 34 billion forints (EUR 110m).

 

Mr. Németh pointed out that three similar tenders had already been launched with funding from the 2007-2013 budget. A total of HUF 32.3bn has been distributed to some 3300 young farmers within the framework of those tenders. The goal of the tenders is to facilitate an improvement in the age distribution of farmers and to achieve a positive change in estate structure and the population retention capabilities of rural areas.

 

Farmers between the ages of 18 and 40 who are establishing there own farm for the first time were at an advantage during the current tender. Other requirements were that they must keep the farm operating themselves for at least five years and must be in possession of the expert knowledge required for agricultural production. Further advantages could be gained if the new farm is being established in a disadvantaged region, if the farmer lives in a homestead or croft or wishes to move to one, if the applicant wishes to perform activities with a high manual labour requirement such as horticulture or animal husbandry, and if they already have practical experience and are prepared to enter further training, he added.

The Minster of State also announced that unsuccessful applicants would have the opportunity to apply again during the 2014-2020 EU financial period and that there would be an extremely high level of funding available, as one of the period's thematic programmes is aimed at supporting young farmers, but they could also receive a relatively high level of funding from Pillar I resources.