The bilateral cooperation between AKI and the University of Exeter has enabled a group of sheep and beef farmers from the South West of England to take part in a short field trip to Hungary.
During the two-and-a-half-day trip, the participants were given an insight into the agro-food systems in Hungary through several visits. Thanks to Galldorf Zrt., the participants learned not only about the technological details of soy processing but also about the most pressing issues in Hungarian agricultural production and trade. The visit organised by Kiskunság National Park demonstrated the successful local implementation of the agro-ecological scheme by presenting the grey bustard conservation programme and also drew attention to the importance of extensive livestock farming in landscape conservation by visiting Szomor Farm. A visit to Magosvölgy Ecological Farm presented a success story of community-supported agriculture, while the visit led by WWF Hungary highlighted not only the problems of water management in Hungary but also demonstrated an exemplary farmer-led solution to water retention interventions in the Homokhátság. Last, but not least a wine tasting hosted by Dubicz Winery allowed participants to become familiar with Hungarian wine, one of the most highly valued agricultural products of Hungary.
Despite geographical, production, and cultural differences, the visits revealed that Hungarian and British farmers and food producers frequently face the same challenges, whether it be their vulnerable positions in the food value chain, record-high input prices, labour shortages, or depopulating rural areas. However, participants also took away a lot to think about; from adding value to their own products or to considering water resource usage in a new way on their farms.
AKI would like to thank all its partners for their professional contributions to the successful study visit!