Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 37 of the international organisations, the International Seed Federation and the International Seed Testing Association. Initially, seed production of agricultural crops was linked to big farms, which later became centres of multiplication, and provided room for processing facilities. In the age of socialism, under central economic governance, the seed industry was operated directly by the state, and the direction of developments and investments was determined centrally. Among the countries belonging to the Eastern European Bloc, Hungary played an important role in maize breeding and seed production. The first European line-based hybrid maize variety was bred and registered in Hungary. In the late 1970s and 1980s, large- scale agricultural production generated huge development in seed breeding, plant research, seed multiplication and processing areas. After the regime change, new production and business possibilities were initiated. Farm structures were basically reconstructed because of privatisation. The state-driven central seed producing and trading company, and its multiplication activity and marketing system came to an end. A new, open market, business-driven seed sector developed with the traditional values of the preceding decades. After structural changes, the area for multiplication was decreased and the final category of cereals was stepped up. As a result, the area and number of producers fell dramatically. The production and marketing of seeds shifted from a state task to privatised companies. Former breeding and research cooperations became formal businesses. New, privatised, small- and medium-sized companies launched, and as a result of increasing foreign investments, they became independent from earlier, strict state control. ROOTS IN THE PAST Opportunities always have roots in the past; therefore, present success is based on traditional species. The most important Hungarian seed products are maize, sunflower, mustard and phacelia seeds. Export has always been an important part of the Hungarian seed sector. Former eastern European markets decreased, whereas western European destinations provided new opportunities to extend export markets. In the last decade, there was a huge reconstruction with regard to market share of national and foreign companies. Many international companies broadened their seed multiplication activity in Hungary by starting variety trials on newly established testing stations. Investments and the modernisation of privatised state-based seed plants boosted competitiveness and efficiency in the area of seed processing. The newly introduced advanced technologies on multiplication and seed processing provided significant progress in the seed market. In 2004, the accession of Hungary to the European Union was a milestone in the country’s seed business history because the common European market, with its unified regulation, created a new system in the entire seed sector. CEREALS TAKE THE LEAD Arable land in Hungary is 4.3 million hectares, and 65 per cent of this is cereals: winter wheat, maize and barley. The most important species provide about 30 per cent of Hungary’s total agricultural output. The genetic resources of these crops are essential elements of the seed business. In the case of wheat, national research and breeding activity and extensive international scientific cooperation has provided a strong basis for progress. Not only are winter wheat varieties successful in the domestic market, but many of them are well known and popular in neighbouring countries and the Middle East. Hungary produces the largest quantity of its maize seed for export, and maize seed is the country’s most important export product. The multiplication area of maize is around 20,000 to 30,000 hectares annually, depending on marketing and export. Domestic national and multinational companies take advantage of favourable climatic and agronomic conditions, the expertise of the country’s professionals, and practiced producers with large and irrigated fields. The highest quality is required by variety owners, contractors and the inspection service of the national seed authority. The total multiplication area of all crops is around 120,000 hectares, divided over approximately 5,000 fields. There are about 120 crop species, which are inspected during seed production, and the number of varieties is approximately 1,250, comprised mainly of maize and winter wheat. The size of the Hungarian seed sector is best described by its production value for domestic markets, which is around €300 million. Hybrid seeds of agricultural plants make up the biggest share at 68 per cent (including maize, sunflower and oilseed rape seeds). Next is the production value of cereals at €41 million, followed by vegetables, fodder crops, grasses and, finally, protein crops. Approximately 700 companies are involved in seed multiplication. The production size of producers varies widely from smallholder farmers on a couple of hectares, to large agricultural shareholding companies with several thousand hectares. From the beginning of the 1990s, the average size of the multiplication fields has continuously increased because of the transformation in property structures. In the past, big state farms were the organising centres of seed production, and after the regime change, most of the successive private companies kept their position and role in the seed sector. The majority of seed producers are engaged in multiplying cereals, with maize being the country’s most important seed product. A LOOK IN THE KITCHEN The Hungarian Seed Association was established in 1993, and it brought together 64 seed producers and breeders. Soon after, HSA merged with the Hungarian Seed Trade Association, unifying the entire seed sector into one advocacy organisation. At the moment, HSA has 582 members, is a non-profit organisation and its members can be either natural or legal persons who are part of the seed sector. There are three committees within the association. One is dedicated to breeders and variety owners, another to seed traders and the last to seed producers. Members can choose their positions among these three committees. Depending on the activity, members can be assigned to a group of species in their range of interests. The members from different committees work in sections. The general assembly and the board of directors operate the association. The chairman, board, members of the sections and committees are all elected for five years. The real professional work within HSA is done in the four crop sections—cereals and pulses, hybrid plants, fodder crops and other species, and vegetables. The association does not have a separate section for seed potatoes because potato and seed potato production is closely connected, therefore the advocacy is mainly managed by the National Potato Marketing Board and Association. Our association has no activity in the field of ornamentals or tree and shrub seeds. The questions and issues with respect to flower seeds and seeds of herbal plants are arranged and discussed by the vegetables section. TASKS OF THE ASSOCIATION The primary task of the association is to harmonise the interests of the entire seed industry (i.e. breeders, traders, multipliers, and processors) and represent the negotiated positions with the state administration (i.e. Parliament and the Ministry of Agriculture and its authorities). HSA takes part in the codification work of the administration, giving an opinion on draft proposals. The association represents a broad basis of various actors in the seed business, therefore the essential goal is to form and maintain HSA common positions and interests. The efficient advocacy work of the association would be unfeasible without quick exchange of information. HSA is making every effort to be the essential source of all information related to seeds in Hungary.