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Land-grabbing in Kajászó, Hungary


In Hungary the average size of the 'large estates' is among the largest in Europe: about 3,200 hectares. This land concentration damages food sufficiency, leads to rural depopulation and has led to the expansion of large-scale monocultural agriculture and increasing social tensions in the Hungarian countryside. In 2010, the government followed through on its election promises and put 65,000 ha of state land available through a public tender. The aim was to support young local farmers and their families by offering them low-cost leases for 20 years. However, the tender process was plagued with irregularities and corruption. A series of scandals erupted after the announcement of the results of the first round of tenders as most of the land has been leased to Hungarian agro-businessmen and capitalists and cronies close to the governing party.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Land-grabbing in Kajászó, Hungary
Location of conflict:Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen county, Baranya county, Fejer county
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Land acquisition conflicts
Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Specific commodities:
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Project area:65000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:04/2012
Relevant government actors:National Land Management Organization
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:European and Hungarian Greens, Dialogue for Hungary MP Rebeka Szabó, Association of Farmers’ Councils
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Potential: Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Intervention of international organizations
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Thus far only only 34 000 hectares of land out of the 65 000 hectares promised have been made available. But even these have not followed principles of justice in their distribution. The tender didnt follow the stated goals of strengthening family farming. The application system was plagued with problems, for example: there was no limit in the number of applications per capita and in he number of obtainable units per capita. Moreover, subjective aspects were overrated in the final scoring. In the first application round 20 000 hectares were allocated and in the second round 7 000 hectares were declared. It is suspected that the remaining 31 000 hectares have been handed over to the previous owners through secret contracts. Most of the land went to Hungarian capitalists and interest groups, who have huge influence, particularly those close to the government. This problem has not been solved yet. The solution perhaps requires the intervention of international organizations because of the corruption of the related Hungarian actors. So far it seems this situation is a special form of land grabbing in Hungary.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

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LXXXVII. act in 2010
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National strategy of rural regions (Nemzeti videkstrategia)

LV. act in 1994
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Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Hungarian land grabbing leaves farmers angry
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Meta information
Contributor:Gyorgy Malovics
Last update24/06/2014
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