A new propagation greenhouse for Hungarian company Árpád-Agrár brings the total acreage of the farm to over 60 hectares, of which 7 hectares is dedicated to propagation. The new greenhouse was opened last week.
Árpád-Agrár was established over 50 years ago and has since its establishment grown into a broad agricultural company, with pepper/paprika and tomatoes being the main products. They also grow cucumbers and produce bread and milk. Another role the company fulfills is the one of propagator, providing growers in Hungary and abroad with greenhouse propagated young plants for both the open field and the indoor market. For these activities, they expanded their facilities.
The expansion, built at the Árpád-Agrár farm in Szeged, in the south of Hungary, includes a 1.5 hectare greenhouse and material storage, a hall suitable for getting the seedlings ready for transport. The company received nearly half a billion HUF support for the approximately HUF 1.3 billion investment, which is 1.5 million euros on a total investment of over 4 million euros.
Miklós Csikai, current president and CEO of the company, explained how the company invested over 24 million euros between 2011 and 2018 in its growth, resulting in the realization of 18 hectares of glass. The investments were done with over 5.5 million euros support. According to Miklós, the company is about to develop further, with another 5 million euros being invested in the next years.
Miklós also explained the importance of partnerships. "For many years, I have been sure that it is only through co-operation that we can develop further in the horticultural industry, something that is of great importance to an industry consisting of many small players. If we do not get together and do not develop unitedly, we do not learn from each other and we are on the wrong track." Therefore the presence of many partners pleased him. "We value our partners, both in the development of the industry and in our propagation activities. We want to supply them with the best quality. If you don't do this with honesty, it makes no sense to do it at all."
23.2 million seedlings
István Oltyán, responsible for the propagation activities, explained how the company propagated over 23.2 million seedlings last year and is expecting to grow even more thanks to the expansion. The new greenhouse is equipped with lighting, irrigation, screens and ventilation.
The Árpád Group is one of the biggest greenhouse companies of Hungary. They receive thermal heat from over 20 geothermal wells. In total their acreage, both in foil and in glass, is over 60 hectares, of which 7 hectares are dedicated to propagation. Their starting material goes to over 1000 growers in Hungary and surrounding countries.
For the opening, István Nagy, Minister of Agriculture, paid a visit as well. He said that the horticultural sector plays a key role in Hungarian agriculture. "This is the 21st century", he stated, speaking of the importance of improvements and a competitive position for the industry. "It's good to see that innovation has found its way to Szegvar. The production of seedlings in a glass greenhouse is the beginning of a new era."
Mr Nagy believes in the potential of the industry and wants to support it to develop further. Therefore up to 2020 there will be millions of euros of government support available. Currently, with support from the government, over 200 projects are being realized, including 90 hectares of new greenhouses and 60 hectares of foil greenhouses.
Sándor Farkas, secretary of state, agreed on horticulture being a priority. He emphasized how the industry is key for the city of Szentes and also how the industry can benefit from the 50+ geothermal wells in the region.