Budapest (MTI) – Farmland should be entrusted to farmers, who know how to cultivate it, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in Parliament on Monday, in his reply to opposition questions concerning the government’s programme of selling off state-owned plots.
The prime minister said that some 20 percent of Hungary’s state-owned farmland would be sold out, and added that he thought that ratio was too low.
Socialist MP Gabor Harangozo said that “selling out state-owned farmland equals to selling out national independence”.
In his response, Orban suggested that the Socialists may “wish for (communist-era) cooperatives and state farms” and insisted that “the state should have no agricultural ventures, but delegate those tasks to those who have the skills”.
Responding to Zsolt Legeny, another Socialist MP, Orban repeated his position and said that “we do understand that you prefer keeping farmland in state ownership, since it was you who had seized it from private owners”. The government, on the other hand, seeks to give that land to farmers and “implement a hundred-year-old smallholder programme,” Orban said.
In his answer Legeny noted that he was born in 1978 and had not been “in a position to seize anything”.
Radical nationalist Jobbik MP Zoltan Magyar asked the prime minister about businessman Lorinc Meszaros, who had “snatched 800 hectares of state-owned land leaving no chance for local farmers”.
Orban responded that Meszaros, who is also mayor of Orban’s native Felcsut, employs 700 people and “we are glad that he is prosperous”.