Dutch businesses were fast to recognise the opportunities that lie in this rich area and since the late 1980s various companies have established subsidiaries or clients for their technology here. Companies present in the area are often market leaders and include Rijk Zwaan, Royal Brinkman and Grow Group. The largest geothermal greenhouse complex in Europe exists here too. Interestingly, the 45 hectares of greenhouses were all built using Dutch technology.
But the existence of Dutch and Hungarian businesses does not mean that Csongrád county is devoid of opportunities. Much of the produce grown by these horticulture companies is sold nationally. Yet the area’s location means that international trade of Hungarian products can be an unexploited market opportunity.
A major challenge that all horticulture - and other agricultural sectors - are facing not only in the county, but nationwide, is labour shortage. Thanks to public employment schemes, unemployment is at record lows in the country. Many people have emigrated to the West for better wages, or found better paying jobs in other sectors, like the automotive assembly industries.
Image: Attila Csaforda
Lack of manual labour means that to survive, growers must innovate and seek ways to implement automatisation and robotisation practices. The Netherlands is a frontrunner in this, also in horticulture. The challenge of labour shortages could be turned into an opportunity for Dutch knowledge and innovation to further expand to Hungary.
Szilvia Palakovics, Senior Policy Advisor Agriculture