In December of last year it was revealed that a number of businessmen personally connected to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had gone into pig farms with the help of generous EU and Hungarian grants.
Earlier this month the Ministry of Agriculture announced that it will distribute twice as much in the way of pig farming subsidies in 2015 than in 2014.
The announcement comes in the wake of revelations that Hungarian billionaires received the most agricultural subsidies in 2014, including the mayor of Orbán’s home town, Felcsut, Lorinc Meszaros.
Last year the ministry distributed some HUF 8.5 billion (USD 31.6 million) of agricultural subsidies to Hungarian pig farmers. On February 6 it announced it would more than double this to over HUF 17 billion (USD 63 million) in 2015.
After years of decline, Hungary’s pig population now exceeds 3 million. According to the Central Statistical Authority as of December 1, 2014 there were 3,136,000 pigs, for an increase of 131,000 over the previous year.
HUF 17 billion of pig farming subsidies represents a handout of HUF 5,204 (USD 20) per pig.
Similar increases in cow (2.4 percent) and chicken (4 percent) numbers were reported.
However, there was a 37 percent decrease in the number of geese and a 2 percent decrease in the number of sheep.
No explanation was offered why it was necessary to double subsidies for pig farmers.